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Fun activities add meaning to Dementia Awareness Month

Friday, Sep 28, 2018

Residents, staff and volunteers at Eldercare’s residential care facilities hosted an array of special events throughout September in support of Dementia Awareness Month.

Dementia Excellence Program Manager Sarah Jamieson said several sites, including Sash Ferguson, Evanston Park, Acacia Court and Seaford, hosted events that helped strengthen connections across Eldercare and raised awareness of dementia.

“The residents at Sash Ferguson in Mount Barker enjoyed a sensory and wellbeing morning tea with beautiful china cups, hand massages, relaxing music and aromatherapy,” said Sarah.

“Seaford hosted a wine and cheese happy hour in their Memory Support Unit with special guest cartoonist Paul Duff providing some laughs while Evanston Park held an afternoon tea with a cake and a screening of a short dementia awareness video.”

Staff at Eldercare’s Head Office in Eastwood gathered classic records, cherished photos and other nostalgic memorabilia to create a ‘cosy corner’ that celebrated special memories and honoured the significant people in their lives.

Sarah said the vintage pieces displayed at Eldercare’s Head Office revived many memories for people.

“Our collection is generating wonderful conversations among the staff that often start with the words ‘My mum had one of those’,” said Sarah.

“We encouraged staff to add a loved one’s name to our honour book, bring items for our display and become a Dementia Friend.” Sarah said Dementia Australia’s ‘Dementia Friend’ program aimed to increase the community’s understanding of dementia.

“The program is designed to make us aware of everyday things we can do to support people living with dementia to feel, as described by Dementia Australia, ‘included, accepted, safe and connected’,” said Sarah.

The theme for this year’s Dementia Awareness Month is ‘Small Actions Big Difference’ and highlights how small actions can have a profound and positive impact on the lives of people living with dementia.

Sarah said it’s a lovely coincidence that this year’s theme aligned with principles that went to the heart of Eldercare’s award-winning Dementia Excellence Program, which focuses on positive, person-centred care.

“Since introducing the Dementia Excellence Program four years ago, we have found that small changes such as introducing birds and fish, playing gentle music, walking in the garden, introducing buffet breakfasts and enabling people to maintain ‘every day’ roles like washing up and sweeping have made a big difference to people’s wellbeing.

“We are committed to supporting each individual’s wellbeing by empowering them to exercise choice in all things and recognising their uniqueness to create meaning, purpose and moments of joy.

“At Eldercare, we wholeheartedly support Dementia Australia’s view that small actions can transform lives – and it’s this approach that enables us to provide people living with dementia, and their families, with the peace of mind they deserve.”