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Igniting the Spark of Life in people with dementia

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Spark of Life Model of Care acclaimed by Commonwealth Aged Care Leaders

The following article is reproduced with permission from the CommonAge website:

Click here to read this article on the CommonAge website.

Our Chairman Andrew Larpent says: “The Spark of Life Model of Care provides a transferable framework of education and care practices that are meaningful and effective in diverse cultures and in all areas of care including community and palliative care, and we are sincerely grateful for the support our Ambassadors receive from Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.”

Spark of Life delivering excellence in dementia care across the Commonwealth

By Annie Waddington-Feather
21st September, 2022

With researches predicting global dementia cases will trip to 150million by 2050, and the World Alzheimer Report revealing up to 85% of people living with dementia may not receive post-diagnosis care raising awareness of these conditions today, through World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September, and World Alzheimer’s month is more important than ever before.

Through this year’s theme of ‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s’, Alzheimer’s International is shining a light on the importance of a timely diagnosis and the warning signs of dementia and highlights ‘tackling dementia requires a truly global and local effort’,

However, for local sector leaders and service providers working at a grass roots level in many Commonwealth countries, there are additional challenges, such as cultural beliefs, to overcome.

Anderson Simfukwe, our ambassador in Zambia, points out ‘in the African context, there is an intersection of old age and witchcraft that needs urgent clarity and comprehension.

In a recent article entitled ‘Older Persons versus Witchcraft vis-a-vis Dementia Under the Spark of Life Philosophy’, he highlights:

Older people are mainly associated with the practicing of witchcraft due to the fact that as people age their mental capability is compromised due to various brain health conditions that include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementias. The witch finders target wealthy older men and women who are unable to defend themselves during interrogation. And dementia is at the centre of such witchcraft accusations and the witch finders take advantage of the people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders to accuse them of practicing witchcraft. The accused are subjected to all forms of abuse including brutal killing in cold blood.

The Spark of Life Philosophy and implementation of the best practice Spark of Life Model of Care, is a specialised education and training programme run by Australian-based Dementia Care International and it is having a positive impact on those living with dementia and delivering unprecedented benefits for all involved.

In 2015, CommonAge Ambassadors and recipients of our bursary to an international care conference in Perth, Australia met Jane Verity, Founder and CEO of Dementia Care International, and Hilary Lee, President of Dementia Care International; since then, through our ambassadors and other networks, the pioneering Spark of Life Model of Care has been launched in five Commonwealth countries.

“Building relationships based on empathy, kindness, and compassion are key aspects of our Model of Care; when we met the CommonAge Ambassadors, we recognised sector leaders from many nations in the Commonwealth desperately needed resources and training to help them care for people living with dementia, and we knew we had the tools to help,” Jane and Hilary explain. “Through Dementia Care International’s charity arm Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life, over the past few years, we have provided grants for CommonAge Ambassadors to attend our intensive three-week Master Leadership Program and Quality Management System. Furthermore, we have provided ongoing support, to enable each Master Practitioner to implement the Model of Care in their service and wider community.”

“Like many other organisations, when the COVID19 Pandemic lockdowns prevented international travel, we developed and transformed our education programs so they can be delivered live via Zoom in a way that is interactive and engaging,” they continue.

Since the training went online, our CommonAge Ambassador in Kenya, James Mbatia Kinuthia, Founder of SJ Remedial Care Facilities in Nairobi, Kenya was able to attend the Master Leadership Program, and is now implementing the Model of Care in his care home and community service.

He says although we are looking forward to create more awareness, the reality is that the reception is overwhelmingly unbelievable, our daily calls and messages concerning rehabilitation of those living with Dementia has remarkably increased.

“This has enhanced level of ownership, confidence, enthusiasm and leadership felt across my team. Having our two supportive partners attending the Spark of Life Rehabilitative program via Zoom was a helpful support.”

“One of our residents used to tell others who he was, (as he thought they did not know) but after the introduction of the Spark of Life Name Memory aids, he no longer repeatedly does so. Thus there is a new feeling that he knows people know who he is, and now he doesn’t need to keep repeating his name to everyone. He knows everyone can read his name, and this has given him quite a settling and reassuring feeling.”

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Uganda have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Zambia have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Nigeria have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in India have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here and here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Kenya have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Dementia Care International offers a range of Spark of Life education programs online including:

“We are providing high-level leadership education and equipping leaders to provide sustainable and measurable quality care in their services,” Jane and Hilary conclude.

By bringing knowledge and experience together across the Commonwealth we can support sector leaders in developing countries, and contribute to making positive changes to people’s lives.

Join us in making changes to older people’s lives across the Commonwealth.

Donate, partner and follow us on social media; we are active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Please support Spark of Life Scholarships:

This article was originally published in CommonAge.
Click here to read this article on the CommonAge website.

David Wren Interview

David Wren, Global Ambassador for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life was interviewed radio by Todd Johnson on 6PR on Tuesday 6th September 2022 about his 22,0000 km ride around the world for the foundation and why he is dedicating this ride to his mum Althea Wren.

Listen to the interview here:

David Wren 6PR interview, Part 1:

David Wren 6PR interview, Part 2:

Please help David by donating to his fundraising
efforts for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life:


Special Announcement:
David Wren Becomes Global Ambassador for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life

David Wren, a Professional Golfer, has travelled extensively around the world with a personal passion for visiting developing countries.  Having climbed throughout the Himalayas and completed bike crossings of Vietnam, Tibet, Nepal and South America, he set a challenge to ride ‘halfway round’ the world to raise money for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.

Consisting of over 22,000km by bike, David’s journey started in Ireland, travelling through Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, finally returning to Australia to ride the final leg across the Nullabor to Melbourne, Victoria.

David Wren shares his motivation to raise money for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life:

Mum spent her life advocating for the rights of the disabled and their right to participate in all of life’s activities and workplaces.

The diagnosis of dementia for Mum meant sitting on a chair in a nursing home will little or no interaction with everyday life. Any signs of positiveness or happiness also left.

I wondered why people diagnosed with dementia were not given every opportunity to continue participating in life.

I came across Dementia Care International, Jane Verity and Hilary Lee. I could instantly relate to their focus on maximizing the lifestyle and happiness of people with dementia.

I thought, “How can I help”?

I had a light globe moment: “bike touring is for me”…
No matter what country you are in as human beings we all strive for the same things. Peace and security, education for the next generation, political and financial stability, fresh food, family connection and community.

In 2010 I started to hatch a plan to take a gap year and attempt a super long-distance solo ride. A 22,000km ride from my Family name ancestral village in Ireland, Athboy, County Meath, to my home city Melbourne Australia.

The ride included overland crossings of France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China with the final leg from Perth to Melbourne via my hometown Griffith, NSW.

The trip included fundraising, with all money raised going to Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.

Please help David by donating to his fundraising
efforts for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life:


Kosovo Celebrating Global Spark of Life Month

Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) director Dr. Feride Rushiti and psychologist Selvi Izeti Çarkaxhiu, both Spark of Life Master Practitioners, are celebrating Global Spark of Life Month, with their team. ⁠ ⁠

Last year, supported by Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life, Feride and Selvi took part in the intensive three-week Spark of Life Master Leadership Program that has enabled them to introduce the Spark of Life Model of Care into Kosovo for the first time. They recently translated the Spark of Life Education to Albanian to pioneer the education with their colleagues in Kosovo.⁠

Feride says “The Spark of Life Philosophy is an added value to our work with our clients suffering from trauma, since many components of this philosophy can be easily adapted to work with clients that don’t suffer from dementia, but who would benefit greatly from this holistic, encouraging and humanistic approach to inspire the human soul. KRCT would like to thank the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life for the continuous support towards the capacity building in KRCT and for enriching our perspective in the field of rehabilitation”.⁠

To support the life-enriching work of Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life, click the button below. Your donation is greatly appreciated.


Uganda Celebrating Global Spark of Life Month

Meet Richard Semanda, Spark of Life Master Practitioner pictured here with colleagues Atuhaire Daphine in the orange polo and Nabulya Oliver in the purple polo.

Richard’s organisation Geriatric Respite Care Foundation, based in Kampala, Uganda was the first healthcare service to bring the Spark of Life Philosophy and Model of Care to Africa. Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life supported Richard, together with his colleague Jesca Nakiribango to travel to Perth Australia to become certified as Spark of Life Master Practitioners. Through educating their community, Richard and Jesca are able to give much needed support and information, as dementia is often misunderstood and even feared.

Richard and Jesca have utilized their new knowledge to pioneer Africa’s first rehabilitative Spark of Life Day Centre which is transforming many lives of people with dementia in Kampala and the surrounding region in Uganda.

Meet Jesca Nakibirango, Spark of Life Master Practitioner, Founder & Executive Director of Rise and Shine Dyslexic Organisation and Director of the Munyonyo Learning Centre, a pioneering school in Kampala, Uganda for children with neurological disorders.

As a Master Practitioner, Jesca is implementing the Spark of Life Philosophy with her students, which is having wonderful results,  empowering them to ‘walk tall’ with confidence and to also become volunteers for the Geriatric Respite Foundation. The students form a special relationship with the seniors with dementia, as Richard and Jesca’s centres share the same building.

Please donate to Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life
to support this life changing cause:


Fundraiser Buzz before World Premiere

29 August 2021 marked the World Premiere of Ruby’s Choice, a heart-warming and perception shifting film about dementia, starring Jane Seymour. The film was shown for the first time at the Australian film festival, CinefestOZ in the ‘Heart’ Theatre in Margaret River, Western Australia.

Included in the ticket price for Ruby’s Choice was a sumptuous high tea served in the art gallery foyer. In addition, volunteers from Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life, the official charity associated with the film, created a buzz of excitement with its raffle as guests arrived.

Prices comprised of sought after artwork generously donations by local acclaimed artists Leon Pericles and Phil Hollett, as well as a signed limited edition photograph from Michael Budd, producer and director of Ruby’s Choice featuring Jane Seymour in a scene from the film.

Leon Pericles, donated a beautiful limited edition etching of Lava Lamps, as well as a copy of his new book ‘Just Scratching the Surface’, about his last 50 years of as an innovative and inspiring artist.

Also abundant hampers from the Margaret River Farmer’s Market, and vouchers from Margaret River tourist attractions were part of the attractive raffle prices.

“A special and heart-felt appreciation goes to all who donated prizes, bought raffle tickets and to the volunteers who assisted on the day as well as to the CinefesOZ  team catering for the delicious High Tea. Also a sincere thank you to the team at the stunning Heart Theatre for their support in making it such a memorable event for all”, said Hilary Lee, President of Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.

Funds raised during the raffle go directly towards enriching the lives of people with dementia globally, providing grants for equity of access to the life-changing and innovative Spark of Life Model of Care. The significant benefits for people with dementia, their families and carers are showcased at the end as part of the credits of Ruby’s Choice.

Ruby’s Choice is expected to be coming to cinemas in 2022.


For more articles about Ruby’s Choice: To donate to the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life:____________________________________________________________________________

60th Birthday Fundraising Celebration at the Kirribilli Club

Lukas Bendt
Ambassador for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life

On Saturday 15th May, Lukas Bendt, President of the Kirribilli Club, Sydney, is celebrating his 60th Birthday, with a fundraising party to support the charity he is passionate about: Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.

Back in 2011, Lukas first became involved with the Foundation, at a Sydney Roosters home game dedicated to raise funds for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life. Lukas was there as a sponsor of the match.  Jane Verity (Founder) and Hilary Lee (President) were there representing the Foundation. They met Lukas on the pitch in a break where they spoke to the supporters. Lukas generously committed an extra donation of $5000 to the Foundation.

Lukas has personally been touched by dementia and he was inspired by the purpose of the Foundation, to bring the Spark of Life to people with dementia.

He became an advocate and Ambassador of the foundation and was instrumental in supporting Spark of Life Education to be held at the Kirribilli Club for leaders and health care professionals. As busy executive he still committed 3 days to undertake and successfully complete the certified Spark of Life Practitioner Course.

Over the years, despite many life challenges, Lukas has stayed passionate about supporting the foundation, and together with the Kirribilli Club, made annual donations.

Lukas invites you to support his fundraising event and donate to Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.

Ruby’s Choice

Acclaimed Philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn of the Glenn Family Foundation, is funding the production of ‘Ruby’s Choice’, an Australian Feature film by Amazing People Pictures starring Jane Seymour OBE. Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life is the official charity associated with the film.

‘On behalf of the Glenn Family Foundation, I have chosen to support the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life with 50% of the profits of Ruby’s Choice.

This innovative film will not only help shift perceptions about dementia, but by supporting the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life, it will also enable the provision of much needed practical help. It will enable this Australian based health promotion charity to alleviate emotional suffering and ignite the Spark of Life in people with dementia, their families and carers,’ Sir Owen states.

Ruby’s Choice is a globally important film of our time. It tells the story of Ruby, a woman living alone with early dementia and its impact on her and her family when she is no longer able to live independently. The film shows through Ruby’s granddaughter Tash’s eyes the humanity of dementia – that there is still a person there with memories, emotion and value.

The story of Ruby’s Choice shares the same heart-centred message as Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life. Ruby’s Choice is about showing the importance of love and compassion. The film role models how people with dementia can live active and meaningful lives and still have so much to contribute.

Ruby’s Choice, written by the Australian award-winning screen and script writer Paul Mahoney, was inspired from his own previous personal experiences and insight of working in aged and dementia care in Australia.

Over the past 2 years, the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life and Dementia Care International have been supporting Producer and Director Michael Budd  and his team from Amazing People Pictures in the ground work of this film.  This boutique film production company was founded in London and is based in Sydney. Michael Budd is a Director-Actor with a vision to help Australia produce outstanding films that are out-of-the-box, original and innovative.

Highly regarded and accomplished actor Jane Seymour OBE, will portray the character Ruby, a loving person and grandmother. Jane is well known for her extensive career in film, theatre and TV and through her performance will put a spotlight on the human perspective of dementia.. She draws inspiration from her own mother who was a Dutch prisoner of war and a courageous role model.


A Wedding in the Hills – Spark of Life Bonbonniere

On 2nd November 2019 Nikita Marshall and Dalitso Mwale were married in a beautiful garden wedding in the hills in Perth, Western Australia. They took this opportunity to support the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life with personalised in lieu of bonbonniere cards .

Click here to

New Upcoming Malcolm Young  Fundraiser Concert – 15th November 2019, Sydney

Since February 2017, rock ‘n’ roll royalty have continued to come together in celebration of the legacy left behind from AC/DC’s elder statesman, Malcolm Young.

For the first time this concert will now venture to Sydney. The event, which has already gone on to raise over $30,000 for the foundation since it’s inception, will be hosted at Castle Hill RSL on Friday November 15th 2019. Tickets now on sale through

Featuring Past & Present Members of:

Simon Wright – Ex AC/DC
Ian Hulme – Choirboys
Paul Wheeler – Icehouse
Jeff Consi – Badloves
Nat Allison – Suzi Qattro Band
Spencer Jones – The Voice
Paul Woseen – Screaming Jets
Joel McDonald – Bruce Kulick / Gilbey Clarke
Paul Christie – Mondo Rock
Cynthia Gallie – Let There Be Rock Orchestrated
James Morley – The Angels
Randall Waller – Rose Tattoo
Virginia Lillye
Peter Northcote
& more to be announced…..

On sale now:

David Wren- Riding Around the World for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life – Aiming for $20,000

David Wren from Melbourne Australia has done numerous bicycle rides around the world to fundraise for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.

‘I invite you to follow me on my next journey riding through Pakistan in 2019 and donate to the important work of the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.’

Click here to

Malcolm Young Tribute Concert Raises Funds for the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life – February 2019

The rock’n’roll royalty of Australian music banded together on 2nd February 2019 for a second year at the Corner Hotel, Melbourne to raise funds for the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life. This turbo-charged evening of AC/DC classics was in honour of Malcolm Young, Co-founder of legendary rock band AC/DC.

Listen to organiser of the event, James Morley (Angels, Choirboys and now Whole Lotta Rosie):

Craig Newman and Stuart Frazer, from the John Farnham band, are two legendary performing artists who also played at the concert. They speak here in support of the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life:

A huge thank you from everyone at the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life to all involved – your contributions help to bring the Spark of Life back to people with dementia, and their families.



Watch more interviews with rock stars here >>