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Tech to translate conversations for older CALD adults with dementia

The ability to talk into a device and have it translate and relay the message to another person could be a game changer for people with dementia from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, improving care and reducing the need for potentially avoidable hospitalisations.

This is the thinking behind Talk2Me, a project by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), Curve Tomorrow and Mercy Health that has received funding from the Department of Health.

Talk2Me aims to fill a gap in the marketplace through the development of a voice-to-voice translation tool, designed with the needs of older people, particularly those living with dementia, in mind.

Dr Frances Batchelor, NARI’s director of health promotion, said people from CALD backgrounds with dementia living at home do not always receive care from ethno-specific organisations or from people who speak the same language.

“Talk2Me has the potential to make long-term changes to the way older people with dementia from CALD backgrounds receive care in the community by helping them remain in their own home for as long as possible,” Batchelor said.

Amanda Bowe, Mercy Health operations director, home and community care, said her organisation cares for people from a variety of cultural backgrounds living with dementia and that it’s essential its community care team members can clearly communicate with clients to ensure their needs are being met.

Bowe said: “Talk2Me will be a fantastic resource for our community care team and will no doubt help strengthen the close bonds they already share with our clients.”

Aged Care Insite spoke with Batchelor about the accuracy of translation tools and how Talk2Me will differ from the technology currently on the market.

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