Authors: UnitingCare Ageing - Hunter Central Coast and New England Region
Event: 2011 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Special Judges Award (Aged Care Focus)
Award category: Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention Program or Project
Abstract: Although benefits of enabling environments and intergenerational programs (IGP) have been identified for older persons, adults with dementia are rarely targeted for such interventions. Characteristics of dementia challenge care providers to create environments and activities that successfully engage these people. With consideration of participants’ abilities and interests, therapeutic environments and beneficial IGP can be facilitated. A mothers and babies group was organized to capitalize on the improved therapeutic garden project in a 15 bed dementia specific unit. The results of both the garden and IGP were outstanding with statistically significant improvements across all Quality of Life indicators and BPSD scores. Behaviours supporting personhood were common during IGP and all participants responded well to 1-1 interaction with the babies. Cognitive ability was unassociated with affect of the garden and IGP. By using the principles of Person-Centred Care within the new stimulating environment our older residents with dementia now all enjoy their life as happy, active, social and mentally healthy individuals. Description of Facility/Organisation: As a service group of UnitingCare NSW.ACT, UnitingCare Ageing is responsible for the Uniting Church's ministry for older people, particularly those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and isolated. With around 14,000 people in our care, UnitingCare Ageing is the single largest provider of aged care services in New South Wales and the ACT. We seek to provide positive lifestyle choices for older people living in Residential Care and the community that result in enriching and fulfilling lives. Our services are delivered in a Christian context characterised by compassion and love for all. Our team of Chaplains and Pastoral Care workers also provide comfort, counselling and advocacy for residents, clients, families, volunteers and staff as a holistic expression of care.