2016     PhD Candidate, University of Wollongong
2014     Masters of Science in Dementia Care (Distinction), University of Wollongong
2010     Bachelor of Psychology, University of South Australia
2009    Bachelor of Arts, Writing and Creative Communication, University of South  Australia
2005    Certificate of Small Business Management, Business South Australia
1989     Graduate Diploma in Grief Counseling, University of Ballarat
1987     Chef certificate “Australian Cuisine”: Australian Cuisine, Regency Park TAFE
1977     Nurse training, Whyalla and Cleve Hospitals, SA


2016        World Dementia Council, Member
2014-16  Dementia Alliance International, Chair, CEO, Co-founder
2015-16   Alzheimer’s Disease International, Board member
2013-16   Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Advisory Committee, Chair
2014-16   Southern Dementia Advisory Group (Kiama), Honorary member
2010-16   Professional Advisory Group, The Bereaved Through Suicide Support Group (SA) Inc.


2017      Australian Of The Year, South Australia, 2017, Winner
2016      University of Wollongong Alumni Award for Social Impact, 2016
2016      100 Women of Influence Award, Social Impact and Not for Profit Category
2016      Australian of The Year Award, South Australian Finalist
2015      International Dementia Leader, 2015, University of Stirling International Dementia Awards 2015, Winner
2015      National Disability Awards 2015: Emerging Leader Disability Awareness,  Winner
2015      Australian Association of Gerontology, Recognition of Achievements in 2014 at University of Wollongong
2015      Dignity in Care Achievement Award 2015, Outstanding Individual Contribution to Dignity in care, Inaugural winner
2015      Bethanie Education Medallion Award, Winner
2015      University of Wollongong, Community Engagement Award, Winner
2015      University of Wollongong, 2015 Alumni Award Social Impact Category, Runner up
2014      University of Wollongong, Master’s of Science in Dementia Care, Distinction
2012      Creating life with words: Love, Inspiration and Truth was archived in the PANDORA Collection of the State (SA) and National Library of Australia
2012-13  Patron for The Visitors, a play about Younger Onset Dementia, Urban Myth Theatre Group and ECH Residential Aged Care, based on my personal story
2008      Bachelor of Psychology University Merit Award, University of South Australia
2008      Lifetime Golden Key Membership, University of South Australia


2014      The term Prescribed Disengagement® gained Trademark prominence after meeting the stringent  Trademark status criteria in two categories;

Class 41: Educational services relating to the diagnosis of dementia
Class 44: Medical services relating to the diagnosis of dementia

Trademarks in progress: ‘Living Beyond Dementia’™ and ‘See the person, not the dementia’™


Phillipson, L. Cridland, E., Swaffer, K. and Brennan-Horley, C. (2016). Qualitative Research Involving People with Dementia: Recommendations for Conducting Semi-Structured Interviews. Qualitative Health Research, In press.

Swaffer, K. (2015). Dementia and Prescribed Disengagement™, Dementia, Vol. 14, pp. 3-6.<;

Swaffer, K. (2014). Dementia: Stigma, Language and Dementia-friendly, Dementia, Vol. 13(6) pp. 709–716. [Ranked 0.91 in Dementia; ranked 22/32 in Gerontology] <;


Swaffer, K (2016). Co-production and engagement of people with dementia: The issue of ethics and creative or intellectual copyright, Dementia, 0(0) 1–7.

Fleming, R. Phillipson, L, Swaffer, K. & Carpetta, K. (2016). DTSC’s aim to create Australia’s first dementia enabling university, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, pp. 5-7.

Swaffer, K. (2016). “What people with dementia want from residential care homes”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 5, no 3, pp. 21-23.

Fleming, R. Phillipson, L. Swaffer, K. Capetta, K.  (2016). “DTSCs aim to create Australia’s first ‘dementia enabling’ university”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 5, no 3, p3. <;

Swaffer, K. (2015). “The power of language”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 4, no 1, pp. 21-24. (;

Swaffer, K. (2015). “Not just a “Challenging behaviour””, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 21-23.

Swaffer, K. (2015). “Reinvesting in a life is the best prescription”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 3, no 6, pp. 31-32. <;

Swaffer, K. (2014). “Human rights in residential aged care: A consumer’s perspective”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 9-10.

Swaffer, K. (2014). “Introducing the Australian Dementia Advisory Committee”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 2, no 6, pp. 13-14.

Swaffer, K. (2013). “Driving and dementia”, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, vol. 2, no 4, pp. 17-18.


Swaffer, K (2016). The human rights of people with dementia: from rhetoric to reality, Graphic Print: Richmond SA. (Position paper produced for Dementia Alliance International)

Swaffer, K. (2008). “Dementia: My New World”, LINK Disability Magazine, vol. 17, no 4, pp. 12-13.

Swaffer, K. (2011). “My Unseen Disappearing World”, The Big Issue, no 389, pp. 16-19.


Fleming, R, Phillipson, L, Swaffer, K & Steele, L. (2016). Submission19: Inquiry into the ‘Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia’, <;

Swaffer, K, (2012). “Dementia: the reality, Inquiry into Dementia Early diagnosis and Intervention”, Submission no 71.


Swaffer, K & Low, L-F. (2016). Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, New Holland Publishers, Australia.

Swaffer, K. (2016). Love Life Loss, A roller-coaster of poetry: volume 3, Ginninderra Press, In Press 

Swaffer, K. (2016). Love Life Loss, A roller-coaster of poetry: volume 2, Ginninderra Press.

Swaffer, K. (2016). What the hell happened to my brain: Living beyond dementia, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, UK.

Swaffer, K. (2012). Chpt 7, “You Live Until You Die” in Willis, P & Leeson, K (eds), Learning Life from Illness Stories, Post Pressed, Mt Gravatt, Qld, pp. 90-101.

Swaffer, K. (2012). Love Life Loss, A roller-coaster of poetry, Graphic Print Group, Richmond, SA.

Swaffer, K 2010, “Kate” in Words That Shine, Poetry and Poetics Centre, University of SA, Magill, pp. 11-16.

Swaffer, K 2009, “Slipping Away” in Short, C et al (eds), Stratosphere, Piping Shrike, University of SA, Magill, p 85.


United Nations World Health Organisation first Ministerial Conference on Dementia, Geneva, plenary speaker
Dignity in Dementia Care 2015, plenary speaker
Parliamentary Summit on Dementia, Canberra, plenary speaker
Alzheimer’s Australia Consumer Summit, Parliament House, plenary speaker
Alzheimer’s Disease International, plenary speaker
National Dementia Congress, plenary speaker

NZ Biennial Conference, plenary speaker
Parliamentary Friends of Dementia Forum, plenary speaker
Minister’s Dementia Advisory Group forum, Melbourne and Canberra, plenary speaker
Dementia Partnership Project inaugural conference, Perth, plenary speaker
Alzheimer’s Disease International, Puerto Rico, plenary speaker
Dignity in Dementia Care 2014, plenary speaker

Alzheimer’s Disease International, Taipei, speaker
Minister’s Dementia Advisory Group forum, Canberra, invited speaker
Psychology Private Australia Inc, Tenth National Congress, plenary speaker

Caladenia Dementia Care, plenary speaker
The Dementia Collaborative Research Centre Research Forum, plenary speaker
Aged & Community Services SA & NT, Demystifying Consumer Directed Care, plenary speaker
Alzheimer’s ACT, Dementia Network Education 2012, plenary speaker

Alzheimer’s Disease International, London, presenter and invited speaker
Thinkers in Residence SA,The Science of Well-being Conference, plenary speaker
Future Faces of Dementia, NZ Biennial Alzheimer’s Conference, plenary speaker

Alzheimer’s Australia Fight Dementia Campaign Rally, plenary speaker
WordCamp Gold Coast, plenary speaker

I have given over 600 presentations at local, national and international forums, conferences, dementia study days, aged care service providers, Australian Department of Health, Department of Health SA, consumer groups, AGM’s, and other groups and events.