My Anxiety Care: a new technology assisted approach to treating anxiety in people living with dementia 

16 Apr 2024

Anxiety is a common challenge faced by people living with cognitive impairment, impacting up to 75 per cent of those living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment.

Despite its high prevalence, anxiety continues to be poorly recognised within this vulnerable group. 

Anxiety treatment options for people living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment are scarce, with many traditional interventions having poor adaptability to cater for their specific needs. 

Psychotherapies have demonstrated early success as a targeted treatment option, however, they are almost exclusively delivered in person. 

This can be a major barrier for people living with dementia who wish to access anxiety interventions – especially for those living in rural and remote communities. 

UQCCR researcher Associate Professor Nadeeka Dissanayaka and her research team  are striving to address this problem through their newly developed psychotherapy program, My Anxiety Care

My Anxiety Care combats the shortcomings of existing psychotherapy practices by offering a digitalised platform that allows people to access anxiety treatment remotely through online telehealth services (e.g. video conferencing). 

The program delivers an adapted cognitive behavioural therapy intervention, which is tailored specifically to help people living with dementia or cognitive impairment who experience anxiety.

Early research into My Anxiety Care has revealed its potential value, with the psychotherapy program demonstrating optimal acceptability, retention, and anxiety reduction during an initial pilot study

Associate Professor Dissanayaka and her research team are now exploring the effectiveness and future implementation of My Anxiety Care in health services and our community through a larger scaled nationwide randomised control trial

They are currently looking for volunteers living with dementia or mild cognitive impairment who experience anxiety to participate in this research trial

The My Anxiety Care project is being funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Dementia, Ageing & Aged Care. 

Associate Professor Dissanayaka and Clinical Geropsychologist, Professor Nancy Pachana answer most frequently asked questions about My Anxiety Care.

If you are interested in being involved, or want to learn more about this research, please visit the study webpage, or contact the research team through the following services: │0419 638 766│07 3346 5577.