Aged Care Future Planning Paid Off

Caroline and Billy

Last week I wrote a blog about future planning for aged care. For Billy and Caroline it paid off. With my help they planned for the day they would move to an aged care facility. Caroline and Billy received an offer from their chosen facility last week, and have gladly accepted it.

Initially they were hesitant to consider moving from their home, despite encouragement to plan for this from both their family and doctor. When I was referred to them in April/May last year they decided to explore the possibilities with my help. Caroline had concerns for the short term that she may need to go to hospital and her husband Billy cannot be left on his own. In the long term they wanted to be together and share a suite. I recommended they get their financials in order so they would be prepared, and referred them to a Financial Planner.  We decided to begin searching in their local area for suitable accommodation.

They continued to manage reasonably well at home with services and assistance from their family until late last year when Caroline needed hospitalisation for a few days. Interim care was arranged for Billy at home but when Caroline had complications and had to stay in hospital longer, I found emergency respite for Billy in one of the homes we had initially visited.  The family were very pleased with the care Billy received but for Caroline it was not the facility where she wanted to spend the rest of her life.

Once Caroline and Billy returned home, she called a family meeting, which I attended, and informed her family that she had decided that it was time for her and Billy to make the transition to permanent residential care. She felt that, should there be another crisis, she did not want this undue pressure put on her family again. They had decided on Kew Gardens Aged Care, so I contacted the facility and asked for their application to be moved from waiting to urgent. Within two months a suite became available. They chose the Kew Gardens aged care facility because it is right across the road from their present home and they already have friends residing there.  Set on the edge of beautiful Kew Gardens, it is aptly named and has a pleasing outlook. They will move shortly. I am so pleased that this transition will be far less stressful for them ,due to their taking action and forward planning. I was happy to assist them in their planning and take pride in doing the best for my clients.

Planned Aged Care Entry

Having struggled myself at times as an Aged Care Placement Specialist to place my clients in a suitable aged care facility that supports their particular needs I fully appreciate the effort Aged Care Admissions Manager Raechel Goldsmith is taking

Raechel Goldsmith

to change the way in which people are accepted into the UnitingCare, Wesley, Port Adelaide facility.

“We’ve had quite a few successful placements where people haven’t been able to be placed elsewhere,” Raechel says “We’ve reviewed them, we’ve learnt what their triggers are, why they were this way, looked at them in the wider picture and then brought them into our aged care with the right systems in place. We are looking at the person as a person and we are planning the admission, rather than it being reactionary, so people are set up to succeed.”

She explains that so often the placement of an elderly person into an aged care facility is reactionary. I am only too well aware of this. In many cases the elderly person becomes ill, they go into hospital and then are assessed as needing fulltime care in a facility. The hospital needs their bed and the family are under pressure to find a suitable home for their loved one in a hurry. It is certainly not an ideal situation.

I am usually able to find the right aged care facility that meets the needs of my clients because I know the facilities well and have a good relationship with the Managers. But if Raechel’s PACE It initiative (Planed Aged Care Entry) was implemented in all aged care facilities it would make it so much easier for those seeking full time care and their families.

Making sure that it’s the right bed for the right person is Raechel’s mantra. She explains that behavioural support around dementia and mental health, proximity to family and friends, and ensuring staff have the right training and expertise are all crucial to ensure a residents’ needs are met.

Some of the elements I look for when helping a client find an aged care facility, as well as those mentioned by Raechel, when helping to find a suitable aged care facility may include: a double room with a double bed for couples, a facility that allows pets for those with a close animal companion, stimulating activities, good onsite facilities like hairdressers, cafes and spaces that embrace visitors, peaceful outlooks and gardens for reflective time or wifi connectivity. Each person is different and has their particular set of needs to live comfortably and contentedly; these should definitely be met wherever they reside.


New Aged Care Facility Campbell Place Opens In Glen Waverley

Campbell Place, Mt Waverley

When Campbell Place opened in Glen Waverley last month it had been thoroughly tested with a soft opening first. Seventeen senior management and guests spent the night at the facility trialling everything from the temperature and water pressure in the showers, the televisions, lighting and, most importantly, tasting the food with a dinner and breakfast being served. They even participated in activities. With a thumbs up the facility was ready to go!

Set on the former site of Wahroonga Friendship Village and named after Murray Campbell who rose up to become the CEO and Managing Director of Australian Unity before retiring two years ago after fifty years of service, the facility has 102 beds and 54 independent living apartments.  When I visited prior to the opening to check it out, being an Aged Care Placement Consultant I was pleased to learn that the request for double beds I have been hearing from clients for so long has finally been answered here with most rooms having a double bed as standard, hospital high/low type – a first for Australia.

Accommodation for couples is now easy and there are also some lovely suites available. The aged care facility consists of small houses holding 8 or 9 residents and there are 2 memory support units.

Using the U model of care – Better Together, they practice CDC, encouraging independence and enablement by ‘doing with’ not ‘doing for’. This lifestyle program encourages both resident and staff participation and will include food focus groups and resident cooking workshops. The residential and independent living residents will be integrated together, enjoying the onsite café, theatre, hair salon and resident laundry for those that wish to do some washing independently.

With a warm, modern feel, without being too ostentatious, it is a facility I would gladly recommend to clients who are looking to live in this locality and like this style of accommodation.  It’s conveniently close to the local RSL, train and shopping centre.

Baby Boomer Couples Want A Shared Bed In Aged Care Facilities

Greenview, Donvale double bed

Greenview, Donvale double bed

Ph.D. Candidate Alison Rahn from the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England has completed a survey asking baby boomers what they want in aged care. It seems they want to share a room, and a bed, if they are a couple. Quite a natural request one would think. With a third of residents in aged care facilities being married or in a de-facto relationship there is obviously a strong need for facilities that cater for couples.

168 baby boomers participated in the online survey and 29 aged care workers were interviewed as part of Alison’s research. She also found that baby boomers wished to retain their autonomy, they wanted to make their own decisions about when they get up in the morning or go to bed at night, what they eat and who can visit.  They said they wished to maintain their lifestyle and the interests they have always had.

Sharing a room and a bed is vital to a couple’s relationship, talking, regrouping, rekindling the relationship at the start and end of each day and kissing and cuddling is very important. There is evidence that separating partners can shorten their life, adversely affect their health and even cause depression.

Alison said that providers of aged care facilities need to look at their buildings and the size of the rooms to ensure there are an adequate amount of rooms for couples and the government needed to look at their funding instruments to ensure couples could remain together.

It has certainly been my experience as a Placement Specialist that couples have a strong desire to find a facility that caters to them with a shared a bedroom and double bed. It is also my experience that there are not that many rooms appropriate for couples and I have had to search hard to find suitable accommodation for my clients that are couples.