About the Project

ReThink Respite began as a community project in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region led by Dr Lyn Phillipson at the University of Wollongong. Funding for this project was supported by the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation via a 2015 Resthaven Incorporated Dementia Research Award.

The project used a comprehensive social marketing approach to improve carers’ attitudes about respite. The project included:

  • Development of the ReThink Respite website
  • Face-to-face ‘ReThink Respite Coaching’ to support people living with dementia and their carers learn more about local respite services and strategies
  • Presentations, information sessions and stalls at local carers groups and community events
  • Workshops with local respite service providers focusing on ways to improve services.

The ReThink Respite project has now expanded to include a national website and online support program for carers of people with dementia called ReThink Respite Online. This phase of project activities is supported by a 2016 Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation grant.

The Rethink Respite Team

Dr Lyn Phillipson has a PhD in Public Health form the University of Wollongong, a Masters of Public Health from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy from the University of Sydney. At the University of Wollongong she has worked as a research academic in public health and a senior lecturer in social marketing. She was recently awarded a NHMRC Fellowship for 2016-19. Lyn’s research strives to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers. Her dementia-related projects include: Dementia Friendly Kiama, Rethink Respite, Dementia Illawarra Shoalhaven, Healthy Hearts – Healthy Minds and OurPlace.

Dr Liz Cridland has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and has worked on a number of dementia related research projects including Dementia Friendly Kiama. She also practices as a psychologist at a local health clinic seeing a range of clients, including people with dementia and their carers. Liz developed and led the ReThink Respite Coaching program in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions as well as ReThink Respite Online. Contact Liz Cridland.

Dr Keryn Johnson has a PhD and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Wollongong, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy from the University of Sydney. She worked as a research academic for over ten years in the areas of social marketing, dementia and aged care. She also has 20 years of clinical experience in hospital-based physiotherapy. Keryn is the ReThink Respite project manager.Contact Keryn Johnson.

Dr Danika Hall has a PhD in Public Health, a Masters of Adult Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She worked at the University of Wollongong for over ten years conducting health related research and social marketing interventions. She previously worked in marketing roles in health, local government and education. In the ReThink Respite project, Danika developed marketing communication materials including this website. Contact Danika Hall.

Susan Jenkins has completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Masters of Professional Psychology. Susan has worked as a community nurse with various clients, including people with dementia and their carers. Susan is involved in the ReThink Respite Coaching program and ReThink Respite Online. Contact Susan Jenkins.

Other investigators include Dr Elaine Fielding from the Queensland University of Technology, and Associate Professor Christine Neville from the University of Queensland.

Key Contacts

Planned Respite
My Aged Care: 1800 200 422

Emergency Respite
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre: 1800 052 222

Carer Gateway
1800 422 737

National Dementia Helpline
1800 100 500