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Students tell stories of salutogenesis and dementia

Two university students have snagged $2000 each for their exploration of salutogenesis and what it means for people with dementia.

Dementia Training Australia (DTA) asked undergraduate students to tell a story in a medium of their choice exploring how their discipline can support people with dementia to live a life that is manageable, understandable and meaningful.

Tara Kannan. Photo: Supplied.

Tara Kannan took the top prize in the second-year category for her article ‘Mind Over Matter’.

Kannan, who is studying a Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at the University of Newcastle, first realised her interest in dementia while volunteering in a nursing home.

Her winning entry explored the definition of a salutogenic approach to dementia, including its origins and implications for those with the disease in the global community.

Salutogenesis stems from the Latin word for health, salus, and a Greek word meaning source, genesis. DTA said salutogenesis, or sources of health, focuses on factors that support health and wellbeing, shifting away from a more traditional, pathogenic focus on risk and problems.

Matthew Boom. Photo: Supplied.

Matthew Boom, who is studying a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of Canberra, took the top prize in the third-year category for his poster ‘Maintaining Adventure With Dementia’, which explored the ways in which physiotherapy can promote salutogenesis.

Boom first started working in residential care in 2014 and has continued doing so throughout his studies.

“Working closely with older people opened my eyes to the missed opportunities to improve people’s lives through the known benefits of physiotherapy, particularly those with dementia, whose needs are often overlooked,” he said.

Overall, six winners were announced among a pool of students from more than 20 fields of study across 25 Australian universities. Among the areas represented were nursing, medical science, communication, speech pathology, psychology, primary education, physiotherapy, midwifery and design.

Click here to view the full list of winners and their stories, and click below to watch the entry from Danielle Dyce, who is studying a Bachelor of Dementia Care at the University of Tasmania and won third prize in the third-year category.

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