Dementia care within aged care is often associated with locked wards, however, with technological advancement and a person-centred approach comes new possibilities.
There are almost 500,000 Australians living with dementia. Rather than one disease, there are many types of dementia – all with their own presentations that can include a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning. Types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.
Research into quality dementia care continues to grow and provides important insights into improving quality of life of people with dementia, their families and carers.
Where once secure facilities and drug-therapy were the norm when it came to dementia care, there is now a move towards discovering ways to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia by managing their individual symptoms and providing a supportive environment.
Alternative approaches to dementia care
Alternative therapies aim to manage the behavioural and psychological symptoms through a variety of methods. Therapies can include validation therapy, reality orientation, reminiscence therapy and sensory therapies.
Validation therapy uses communication strategies to encourage people with dementia by accepting their reality.
Reality orientation provides information about the environment to help the person with dementia to orientate to their surroundings using aids and prompts.
Reminiscence therapy promotes memory by reviewing past events with the assistance of multimedia memory aids and games.
Sensory therapies use the stimulation of the different senses such as touch, smell, hearing and sight and can include art therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy and touch therapy.
According to Dementia Australia, there is some limited evidence that these therapies are beneficial in improving behaviour, mood and possibly cognition but further rigorous study is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of these therapies.
The role of technology in dementia care
Technology such as sensor mats and wearable devices are being successfully used to support people living with dementia in community settings. The technology allows residents to continue to live independently but with measures in place to keep them safe and secure. Specific dementia apps have also been designed to engage people with dementia and provide talking points for carers and family visitors.
Sensor mats can be placed at the side of the bed or at the front door of the apartment to send an alert to carers that a resident is on the move and may need some support, while wearable technology can be used as a tracking device and can also send alerts to carers if a person is attempting to wander outside the community.
A combined approach to dementia care
In Seasons communities, a combined approach is used to keep dementia residents safe, engaged and living with dignity. Residents with dementia have access to technology to keep them safe in their own apartments as well as dedicated day respite programs to keep them occupied during the day as well as into the evening in some communities.
This ensures that residents get to participate in community events and activities and have access to tailored care to suit their needs.
If you’re starting to look into aged care, you will soon be confronted with a barrage of acronyms you would have never heard before.
Do you know a RAC from a RAD or a DAC from a DAP? With many of the key acronyms around the funding and financing of aged care, you could soon find yourself entering a confusing minefield where failure to understand the difference between similarly sounding acronyms could have financial consequences.
Don’t worry, here are the most common acronyms you’ll find when you’re working out the best aged care option for you and what they mean.
MAC – My Aged Care
My Aged Care, often referred to as MAC, is the Australian Government’s starting point for anyone looking to access government-funded care services. Visit My Aged Care online or call 1800 200 422.
ACAT – Aged Care assessment team
Anyone looking to access Government-funded care – whether that’s home care, respite or residential aged care will need to undergo an ACAT assessment. This assessment will determine your care level.
ACFI – Aged care funding instrument
The aged care funding instrument (ACFI) is used to measure the level of care each resident needs, based on activities of daily living, residents behaviour and complex health care. Outcomes are then used to allocate Australian Government subsidy to residential aged care providers to care for the residents.
HCP – Home Care Package
A Home Care Package provides Government funded services that will help you to remain at home for as long as possible. Home care packages are available in four levels – from Level 1 for low care up to Level 4 for high care.
CDC – Consumer directed care
Consumer directed care is a model of service delivery that puts consumers at the centre of their own care. The Home Care Package program moved to a CDC model in early 2017, which gave people more control over their care and the right to choose the types of care and services they receive as well as who delivers those services.
CHSP – Commonwealth Home Support Program
The CHSP gives entry-level home support to older people still living independently at home. It covers basic services such as domestic support and transport.
RAD – Refundable accommodation deposit
The upfront accommodation payment paid by a non-supported resident when entering aged care. As the name suggests, this payment is refunded when the resident leaves the facility.
RAC – Refundable accommodation contribution
If the resident is fully or partially supported, a RAC is payable when entering aged care. The contribution amount is based on the asset assessment.
DAP – Daily Accommodation Payment
This payment applies to non-supported residents who choose not to pay the RAD as a lump sum. The DAP is worked out by converting the RAD to a daily amount, which is payable as a periodic amount by aged care residents.
DAC – Daily accommodation contribution
Payable by fully or partly-supported aged care residents, a DAC applies for those who don’t pay the RAC as a lump sum and is instead broken up into periodic payments with an interest rate set by the Department of Social Services at the date of entry.
With the different choices around paying for accommodation upfront or as ongoing payments, it’s always worth getting aged care financial advice before moving into aged care.
Seasons Mango Hill Community Manager Rosemarie Hodder talks about her Seasons experience, first as a family member and now as an employee.
Rosemarie’s first interaction with Seasons is one familiar to a lot of families who’ve started looking into aged care options for their ageing loved ones.
“My husband and I came and had a look here (Seasons Mango Hill) around 2013 or 2014 because we knew that my mum and dad were getting to that point,” says Rosemarie.
“We were really impressed with everything, but Mum and Dad were very much ‘No, we’re staying in our own home. This is where we’re going to die’. But their health was declining and because Mum was Dad’s carer, with her declining health she really just could not look after Dad but they struggled on for quite a while.”
And like many families, it was a health crisis that led to Rosemarie’s parents Terry and Therese moving into Seasons.
“At the end of 2015, Mum really was not well at all and Dad ended up in hospital. The doctors at the hospital just said to him ‘You’re not going home. Your family need to organise something or we’re going to put you into residential aged care’.
“We knew Mum and Dad wanted to stay together and that Mum, even though her health wasn’t good, wasn’t a candidate for residential aged care. So, we came back to Seasons.
“I rang the Seasons community consultant as we were beside ourselves not knowing what we were going to do. I told her what had happened and she said leave it with her. Within two weeks, we had the okay from Seasons that they would be able to move in here.”
Unfortunately, Terry passed away seven months after moving in. By this time Rosemarie’s Mother-in-Law Dot was also getting to the stage of needing care so she spent a lot of time visiting Therese and even stayed over to get a feel for the community.
“Dot really loved it here, but she wasn’t quite ready to move in. Sadly, we were thinking Mum was going to have quite a few more years here, but I think she really missed Dad and she passed away just six months later.”
At Therese’s funeral, another health emergency greeted the family.
“At Mum’s funeral Dot had a heart attack and they then found that she had bowel cancer. So that sort of pushed the issue forward.”
In the midst of all of this, Rosemarie, who was on extended leave from her position as a school principal and thinking of retiring from the education department, saw the Seasons Community Manager position advertised.
“I was really impressed with the care that Mum and Dad had received and with the community. So I thought, you know what, I’ll put in an application see how it goes.”
Rosemarie ended up being offered the position of Seasons Mango Hill Community Manager and started the role in October 2017, the same month that Dot moved in.
She believes her experiences with her own family, as well as her career in education, has helped guide her in the role.
“It all comes down to the residents and communication and treating people with respect and with dignity. Bernie (Care Services Manager) and I get on very well and we’ve really worked hard to build a sense of teamwork – that Mango Hill is one family and we’re all here to look after our residents.
“It’s about believing family is of fundamental importance and actively engaging them in all aspects of our services. Families appreciate the way their loved ones are treated with dignity and respect; that they get the care they need and that it is a lovely community to be a part of.”
Dot passed away in her home at Seasons in February and Rosemarie says that this experience of palliative care for both her mum and mother-in-law was another reason they were happy with their decision to choose Seasons.
“Mum wanted to be here at Seasons to pass away and one of the things Dot really liked about Seasons was that availability of palliative care. It was a beautiful, peaceful death for both of them. And that’s all you could ask for any of your loved ones, with lots of care and lots of support in place.”
Seasons Waterford West has been recognised for the second year in a row at the 2019 Logan Business Distinction Awards, taking out the Senior Services category.
This year’s event was held at the Logan Entertainment Centre on Friday June 28, 2019 and saw local businesses come together for the announcement of 19 industry awards plus six major awards, including Business of the Year.
Seasons Waterford West was announced as one of the 47 finalists ahead of the awards night, with more than 340 businesses nominated for an award.
Seasons Waterford West Community Manager Barbara Booth said the award came down to a team effort.
“Every one of our staff has played a part in us being recognised with this award – it’s such an amazing way to get our name out into the local community,” says Barbara.
To be considered for the award, each nominee had to complete an online award application highlighting their general business overview, business development strategies, community and environmental contribution and demonstrate how their business stands out within their industry category.
“We were able to talk about some of our new community partnerships and fundraising efforts as well as our environmental initiatives that we’re focusing on this year. We also got to showcase our unique lifestyle activities and groups, such as the Wandering Gourmets, ukelele group and our pet therapy.
“We are proud of our connection with the local community and hope to continue to grow these networks throughout the year.”
Logan Country Chamber of Commerce Kerry Menck said this year’s Business Distinction Awards featured an increased number of nominations and more variety than previous years.
“We know from the winners last year that they either grew their businesses or got more exposure to grow their business further,” she said.
Attending the awards on behalf of Seasons Waterford West was Community Manager Barbara Booth, Community Consultant Bernadette Bradford and Lifestyle Coordinator Charmaine Lees.
Seasons’ Group Executive Chef Trevor Kemp shares his passion for quality food.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I grew up around food and catering and learnt so much from my father. He ran catering operations at a large New South Wales’ retirement group and then for a meal provider for the Queensland aged care, health, hospitality and retail sectors. From there he branched out into contract catering and I was involved in our long-running catering business servicing retirement communities, education facilities and clubs across Brisbane. At our peak, we were operating out of 15 kitchens with more than 130 staff and responsible for supplying around 5000+ meals per day.
What is your role at Seasons?
As Group Executive Chef I’m responsible for Seasons’ supply chain into our kitchens, all food safety, preventive maintenance schedules and break downs, menu creation and assisting all Seasons communities and chefs as much as possible. My focus is supporting all communities to offer the best possible food service.
What’s your vision for food at Seasons and what motivates you?
Food is so important. It brings us all together and this is even more so in aged care communities. I want all our residents to have the best possible experience every time and look forward to coming into dining rooms and enjoying a freshly prepared meal with great company.
I love what I do – whether I’m in the kitchens cooking or in the office planning the next event or next menu. I’m attending the Maggie Beer Foundation ‘Creating an Appetite for Life’ masterclass to gather ideas and network with like-minded providers.
How are menus created?
I personally meet with residents at each community every six months to gather direct feedback, coupled with ongoing feedback from our staff and residents. We send our menus off to a dietitian for review and work closely with them to ensure residents’ dietary needs are met. As we age, we tend to eat less so we need to make sure our meals are well balanced and full of what we need to sustain us through the day and maintain a healthy weight.
How often are menus changed?
Seasons menus are seasonally based, operating on a 13-week cycle menu.
What about ingredients?
A fresh approach to our meals has been one of my main goals since taking on the group role in 2017, replacing 95% of the frozen vegetable options with fresh options. This is of course more work for our kitchens every day, but our chefs continue to champion freshness. We’ve enlisted some new suppliers and have fresher produce delivered more often.
What if a resident doesn’t like something on the menu or is unable to eat it due to a food intolerance?
We offer more choice here at Seasons than ever. As well as the standard menu, residents can now enjoy a choice of seven lunch options and five supper options. These change every other menu rotation to ensure there is always something different on offer. We’ve introduced breakfast buffets across most Seasons communities so residents can have breakfast at their leisure. And we work closely with our care partner Envigor to manage any food intolerances and dietary requirements as set by residents’ dietitians.
The new Aged Care Quality Standards come into effect on July 1, but what do they mean for current and future aged care residents?
The new Aged Care Quality Standards aim to outline what ‘good care’ should look like and represents a furthering of the consumer directed care approach – putting aged care consumers in the driver’s seat of their care regardless of where that care is delivered. The new standards cover care delivered through home care, in residential aged care and aged care community settings.
What is the purpose of the changes?
The primary purpose of the changes is to introduce a single set of standards, replacing the current Accreditation Standards, Home Care Standards, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program Quality Framework Standards and Transition Care Standards.
The new standards aim to simplify what the consumer can expect from their care provider, with a greater focus on outcomes for consumers rather than provider processes.
What do the new Aged Care Quality Standards cover?
The new Aged Care Quality Standards are made up of eight standards, each covering a different aspect of care, safety, health and wellbeing.
The eight standards are:
1. Consumer dignity and choice
2. Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
3. Personal care and clinical care
4. Services and supports for daily living
5. Organisation’s service environment
6. Feedback and complaints
7. Human resources
8. Organisational governance
As demonstrated in the above infographic, consumer dignity and choice are at the heart of the new standards – giving everyone the right to choose how they wish their care to be delivered, regardless of the setting of that care. The standards reinforce the idea that everyone has the right to be treated as an individual who is able to make their own choices about what’s important to them when it comes to care.
The new standards also highlight the right of care consumers to raise concerns if they feel their care needs are not being met. People are encouraged to share these concerns directly with their provider, however, if they are uncomfortable doing so they’re able to contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
The new standards in action
The new standards will have wide-ranging effects on how care is delivered. Those providers who already deliver truly consumer directed care will be ahead of the curve with delivering care in line with the new standards. Whereas more traditional aged care providers will need to change their approach to be more consumer-centric as the quality of care they deliver will be judged on how well they are meeting individual needs rather than their care processes as a whole.
More information on the new standards in this video:
What the new Aged Care Quality Standards mean for you (consumer video) - YouTube
More than 120 seniors were ‘Shaking All Over’ at the inaugural Grey Matters Live event –proudly sponsored by Seasons Aged Care – on Thursday 13 June headlined by 60s rocker and Aussie legend Normie Rowe.
Normie had the crowd singing along to a few of his greatest hits before regaling the crowd with stories of unexpectedly finding himself a senior in conversation with the morning’s MC, television presenter and entertainer Ian Maurice.
Grey Matters Live, held at the North Lakes Hotel, brought together a mix of speakers and exhibitors to inform and inspire seniors to look at ageing from a fresh perspective – where it’s their choice, their life and their way.
While legal matters can have many people burying their heads in the sand, retirement and aged care legal expert Madeline Walsh’s presentation outlined the importance of getting your affairs in order.
Covering issues such as wills, enduring power of attorney and advance health directives, Madeline spoke about the importance of being informed, getting advice and asking questions to make sure your wishes are met later in life and after you are gone.
After a few more songs from Normie, financial guru Noel Whittaker took to the stage on the topic of ‘making your money last as long as you will’. With post-retirement finances a hot topic, Noel had the audience captivated by his engaging presentation designed to get people thinking about how their money is working for them and what they can do to maximise their returns.
Another hot topic for many retirees is downsizing. Decluttering and downsizing expert Christine Starr shared her personal story of helping both her aunt and grandmother downsize into aged care, which sparked the idea for her business.
Along the way she shared her tips and thoughts about different ways seniors can let go of the possessions that may be holding them back and successfully move on to the next era of their life while the choice is still theirs to make.
The expo area was a hive activity and featured booths by leading government and not-for-profit groups, including Alzheimer’s Queensland, Office of the Public Guardian, Advance Care Planning – Metro North and Carers Queensland along with aged care placement consultants, home care providers, including Seasons’ home care provider Envigor, and financial and legal companies.
Find out about upcoming events and read engaging and inspiring articles for senior Australians at Grey Matters.
It’s a special day when you get to blow out the candles on your 103rd birthday cake surrounded by family and friends. Ailsa, from Seasons Caloundra, spent her special day doing just that and she even got to be a celebrity for the day, with Channel 7 News and the local newspaper queueing up for interviews.
A resident of Seasons Caloundra for the past eight years, Ailsa says she feels blessed that both her children live locally, and she is surrounded by a supportive extended family that includes eight grandchildren and many more great-grandchildren.
“I’ve got two children – a girl and a boy – and they’re very good to me, extremely good,” says Ailsa.
“My son lives at Noosa and my daughter lives at Mountain Creek. My daughter comes one week, and my son comes the next – they’re very regular, they never miss a visit to see me.”
It was being close to her family that prompted Ailsa’s move to Seasons.
“I lived at Redcliffe at the time and my daughter thought if I got sick it would be too far away for her to keep coming and going, so she persuaded me to come up here. I did have a few health issues after that, so I was lucky that I came, and I like it now it’s quite good.”
When asked what it feels like to have passed her century, Ailsa says that she feels like she’s the same person she always was – just a bit slower these days.
“It just feels normal – like I’m 25, no different! Except you can’t do much, that’s the worst part of it. I’d like to be able to do the things I used to be able to do. I’m lucky in a way because I can get around a little bit, even though I can’t enjoy outings anymore.”
Ailsa spent her early years in Gympie and married her late husband of 57 years during World War Two.
“My husband was in the army for six years, so he was coming and going, and we got married at that time. I stayed at home with my parents for a while until the war finished and then we moved around a bit.
“I worked in an office in Gympie for about 10 years. We never travelled – my husband was a homebody and so was I, and the war kind of took away the idea of travelling around.”
Ailsa says one of her greatest achievements and joys was playing lawn bowls.
“I used to play a lot of lawn bowls and there was a competition on in Caboolture District – Ladies Singles – and I won that. I loved playing bowls. I have streams of medals from bowls and if I could I would play again, but I can’t do that anymore. My daughter plays but she says she’ll never be as good as Mum!”
Ailsa says she now spends her time relaxing with DVDs that the Seasons and Envigor staff members drop off to her and she enjoys spending time with her family when they pop in to see her.
“I feel like I’m a part of Seasons now. It’s a good place to be. The girls bring me over DVDs and I watch TV even though I can’t see very well. The staff are good, everything is good. I get treated very well!”
“I’ve had a good life; I have a good family. They look after me like nobody’s business!”
When asked if she has any advice for the younger generation, Ailsa says that times are different these days compared to when she was young.
“They’re different altogether, the young ones – I couldn’t tell them what to do as they live in a different time than what we were used to. They have to work it out for themselves.”
But when it comes to life advice, Ailsa told the media contingent present on her special day that the secret to a happy life is to eat more cake. Now that’s life advice I think people of all ages can take on board!
Watch Ailsa’s birthday celebrations on 7 News Sunshine Coast:
Every one of our eight Seasons communities has their own unique feel. This month, we put the spotlight on Seasons Aged Care Caloundra and discover the unique benefits of this seaside aged care community. Where is Seasons Caloundra located?
Seasons Caloundra is located on Baldwin Street, just a short stroll to the calm waters of Golden Beach. It’s also located close to local shopping centres and supermarkets, including Aldi, Woolworths and the Stockland Caloundra complex. The community is also close to a wide range of medical facilities.
What is it like to live at Seasons Aged Care Caloundra?
Seasons Caloundra is one of our garden communities, with the ground level one-bedroom apartments all opening out to their own courtyards with gate access. A level, concreted walking path winds its way around the grounds of the community, past stunning gardens – many maintained by the residents themselves.
A popular spot is Joan’s colourful corner, with her beautiful garden spilling out from her corner courtyard. Another keen gardener Faye – who is still gardening at 100 years old – is often seen watering her brightly coloured garden at the community’s entrance.
Social activities are well catered for with a large lifestyle centre the place to go to read a book, watch a movie, play a board game or to sit outside and socialise with friends over a cup of tea. There are also a variety of outdoor spots to sit and relax and enjoy the seaside air.
What care is offered at Seasons Caloundra?
While you’ll enjoy a great lifestyle at Seasons Caloundra, you’ll also have the peace of mind that all the care you need is available and you’ll never need to move again. Personalised care is delivered in the comfort of your own apartment at the time you choose. We work with you to ensure your care is tailored to suit your needs.
There is also a dedicated Day Respite Centre for residents for those with higher care needs or who would benefit from structured activities and company.
You’ll also enjoy the added benefits of all meals provided, prepared fresh onsite and a community bus for trips to the shops or the beach.
Could Seasons Aged Care Caloundra hold the key to long life?
We don’t know that for sure, but we do have three centenarians living in our community, with our oldest resident turning 103 this year.
What we do know is that our residents enjoy the benefits of social connection, a range of activities designed to keep them active and engaged, the autonomy of living in their own apartment and good quality care. These have all been proven to not only improve longevity, but quality of life.
How do I find out more about Seasons Caloundra?
Discover more about Seasons Caloundra by calling for a chat or booking a personalised tour on 1300 732 766.