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What is dementia?

Dementia is the term used to define a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders which affect the brain, and impacts the function of a person in four major areas:


Cognitive ability – relates to the way people think and remember. They may struggle to remember recent events, solve problems and complete daily activities.


Behaviours – experiencing delusions, hallucinations or becoming agitated, anxious, distressed and seeking reassurance from other people.


Functional ability – difficulties with performing daily living skills including bathing, grooming, sleep, toileting and eating.


Physical ability - pain, weight loss and changes in limb movements may be experienced as conditions progress.

Types of dementia

Dementia describes a number of neurological conditions. Dementia is not one specific disease but rather there are over 100 different types of dementia including:


Alzheimer’s disease – the most common type of dementia, it is a progressive degenerative illness that attacks the brain and causes a gradual decrease in cognitive ability such as memory and problem-solving.


Vascular dementia – a disease associated with a person’s inability to circulate blood to the brain which can cause cognitive difficulties with reasoning and judgement.


Frontotemporal dementia – caused by the degeneration of the frontal and temporal lobes in the brain which is responsible for someone’s emotion and behaviour.


Lewy body dementia – a disease that includes the presence of irregular structures in the brain which has an effect on nerve cells and brain cells which can result in difficulties concentrating and judging distances.

We're leaders in person-centred dementia care

Our innovative Journey of Care model enables us to tailor our dementia care environments, equipment and programs to meet the unique needs of residents living with dementia. IRT’s industry-leading approach to dementia care includes:

IRT have embedded Dementia Training Australia environmental design principles into all of our secure dementia units within our residential aged care centres. Our secure dementia care environments support resident wellbeing and independence. They also encourage community connections and engagement with loved ones.

Resident wellbeing

Our secure dementia care environments enhance resident wellbeing by reducing unhelpful stimuli, increasing helpful stimuli and making it easier for staff to ensure resident safety. We achieve this by:

  • Concealing fences, exits and staff-only doors with colour schemes and decals
  • Creating internal and external spaces for residents to engage with, like walkways and faux cafes, shopping precincts, bus stops, backyard gardens and streams
  • Improving lines of sight to allow residents and staff to see, and be seen, more easily.

Independent wayfinding

We use environmental design to improve resident independence and safety as they move throughout their home. Resident suites are differentiated with a picture box for personal mementos, and a unique door handle and decal consistent with their family home. Each ‘neighbourhood’ has a street sign or distinctive wayfinding prompts and colours to help residents to independently find their ‘home’. To improve safety, we use colour to contrast skirting boards, walls, handrails and floors. This helps residents maintain a safe footing and find support rails more easily.

Community connections

Creating spaces that encourage residents’ engagement with each other and their family and friends is important. Dementia care environments may include an all ages park, outdoor recreation areas, dementia-friendly gardening equipment and decals that encourage a range of activities. Colourful interiors and vibrant gardens help to make our secure dementia care environments a place where the entire family feels comfortable and welcome.

In our ‘discovery’ neighbourhood, residents’ lives are enhanced through best-practice design of the built environment that focuses on the needs of mobile people living with dementia.

This allows for staff specialisation, tailored equipment and specialist programs that are underpinned by research. Residents feel empowered and participate in daily activities that promote independence, individuality and dignity.

Our specialist programs such as our ‘Montessori’ program support resident wellbeing in each neighbourhood, and at each stage of the care journey. By working in partnership with leading Australian researchers and health experts, we enrich residents’ quality of life, when they need it most.

IRT’s Journey of Care model has been scientifically proven to reduce agitation and exit seeking, while increasing independence, engagement and community linkages.

How much does dementia care cost?

Our Journey of Care model is a unique and innovative way of delivering dementia care. Dementia care is tailored to the needs of the individual which means costs of care may vary depending on the level of care needed and the types of services available. In most cases it won’t affect the cost of a resident’s accommodation and care.

To find out more about IRT’s personalised dementia care for your loved ones, click here

Our locations

We currently offer dementia care across a number of our aged care centres, and are continuing to roll the program out throughout NSW, Qld and the ACT.

Our secure dementia care environments support resident wellbeing and independence whilst encouraging community connections and engagement with loved ones.

Discover the IRT difference


Our secure care environments and programs are codesigned with Dementia Training Australia - expertise you can rely on.


We understand everyone has different needs, which is why we tailor our dementia care environments, equipment and programs to meet the unique needs of residents living with dementia.


All IRT employees are suitably qualified, trained and vetted for their roles. We also invest in regular staff education and training through our industry-leading IRT Academy and national leaders in palliative care.

Find out if your loved one living with dementia is suited to our Journey of Care

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