START project

Strategies for Relatives (START) - On-line project

START is an 8-week program of education, relaxation training and counselling for carers of people living with dementia. Developed in the UK, the program was shown to be effective in reducing the rates of depression and anxiety in carers. This project will adapt the existing program for the Australian context and be the first to test this approach via video-conferencing technology, enabling access to carers living in remote areas.

An advisory group of key stakeholders within MARC partner organisations has been established to govern the project.

Are you caring for someone with dementia?

We are looking for research participants to take part in START. The aim is to determine whether is helpful for carers of a person with dementia to better understand and respond to the behaviours of the person they care for.

To participate in the study, you need to: be 18 years of age or over, be caring for and living with someone with dementia and live within 100k radius of Melbourne.

This program involves eight weekly face-to-face (via videoconferencing) sessions of education, relaxation and counselling.

To find out more about this project, please contact Ellen Gaffy at NARI on (03) 8387 2296 or at

Update on project status

In October 2017, therapists have completed extensive training in the START program. Using consumer feedback the START program has been adapted for Australia. Four participants have completed the project, with further participants being recruited.

Status update: Status update October 2017