The times are certainly a-changing when it comes to aged care accommodation. There were so many horror stories in the media in the past about aged care facilities that the industry has undergone a major shake-up. The government stepped in to close down some facilities and have improved the standards for accreditation for aged care accommodation to ensure our elderly are properly cared for. I love to assist those looking for aged care accommodation as I seek and find the most suitable facilities for my clients.
These days there are more and more facilities being built and they are very different from those of the past, with hotel standard suites, cafes, private dining rooms and decent wifi to ensure residents can stay connected to their families. Facilities are also beginning to offer expanded life experiences to offset the risks of an institutionalised environment.
One new facility nestled in the foothills of the Gold Coast Hinterland, Carinity Cedarbrook, overlooks a farm with horses and cattle. Carinity’s thirty one hectare site is being used by nearby Southport Boy’s School for science and agricultural classes.The plan is that residents will interact with the students and animals and over time activities will increase to include beekeeping and community gardening. Other facilities offer inter-generational playgroups on a regular basis, usually fortnightly or monthly.
Parents bring their babes and young toddlers along to interact with the residents, taking part in musical, dance, art and story telling together.The children appreciate the interaction with the residents, especially those who don’t have regular access to their own grandparents.The residents in turn are often rejuvenated by the interaction with the very young and the music and activities often bring back fond memories. Staff report that, in particular, those living with dementia are often more engaged and energised by these experiences.
For older adults, programs reduce isolation and create a sense of purpose, including for those living with dementia. And for children the benefits include psychological and social development. Professor Anneke Fitzgerald of Griffith University is doing a feasibility study into demand for inter-generational playgroups in aged care facilities with a possible outcome that it will become government policy.