Living with dementia or caring for someone who has dementia can be very stressful and confronting. At Blue Care, we empathise with the person living with dementia and their carer, providing practical support in the home, as well as in day services and care homes so you or your loved one can continue to live a rich and fulfilling life.
The World Health Organisation describes Dementia as an umbrella term for several diseases affecting memory, other cognitive abilities and behaviour that interfere with a person’s ability to maintain their activities of daily living.
There are more than 100 types of Dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common, followed by Vascular dementia, Lewy Body disease and frontal lobe dementia. Currently there is no cure. Dementia Australia has many useful resources about Dementia and operates the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
At Blue Care, we understand that every person living with dementia is a unique individual with a rich life history. Our employees are trained to see the person first, and will work with the person and their family to find out as much as possible about them. This assists our employees to develop tailor-made programs that assist the person to be all they can be, identifying what the person can do, rather than what they can’t do.
Blue Care offers individualised packages that support people living with dementia to live well and safely in their own home, retaining their independence and providing opportunities to integrate into their community.
We can also support you or your loved one to retain skills, continue hobbies and pastimes, or try something new. And we can provide advice, education and connection with carers’ support groups.
At Blue Care we can provide a break from caring with our in-home respite care, day respite services, and in our car homes, where your loved one is encouraged to take part in meaningful activities, such as gardening, cooking, music, dance, art and other activities. In-home respite has the advantage of support in familiar surroundings.
Our residential aged care homes encourage people living with dementia to take part in meaningful activities and take on roles in their community where staff prepare the environment so it is easier to navigate and relieves stress.
We create supportive environments using colour contrast, easy-to-read name badges and well-signed areas. Our homes provide opportunities to reminisce, both as an individual and group, where some residents have memory boxes and memory books.
We encourage people living with dementia and their families to share their life history and what really matters to them. This information is often displayed in their bedroom.
Our homes provide a range of activities and entertainment as well as evidence-based therapies such as music, dance, meaningful craft, art, pet, doll therapy and robotic therapies, which have been known to provide a calming effect on some people and reduce anxiety. Therapies are individually assessed based on individual needs.
Many of our homes provide small therapeutic units with sensory gardens that are designed to be pleasurable areas where barbecues and morning and afternoon teas are served. Sensory gardens include walking paths, seating, water features and areas where normal everyday life can continue, such as hanging out the washing or watering the plants.
In many of our aged care homes we have introduced Montessori Environments, where people are meaningfully engaged in activities and roles that promote independence and self-worth, reducing the need for some medications. Some homes have introduced self-serve, flexible meal service and tea and coffee-making facilities and drink stations to aid independence.
Blue Care has developed a memory support advisory group that identifies innovative practice. Membership comprises of staff with a passion for improving dementia services, as well as two consumer representatives, one who lives with dementia and the other who supports the person with dementia.
Blue Care participates in research and has recently been involved in a study involving a robotic seal called Paro and the effects it has on pain.
Virtual Reality experiences are also being used to assist staff to walk in the shoes of people living with dementia and reflect on their practice.
Blue Care is also the first organisation in Australia to use Sit&See, an observational tool that measures and celebrates the positive care and compassion that staff provide.
Blue Care has also developed a suite of e-learning resources about dementia for its workforce and works with Dementia Training Australia, Dementia Australia, and Montessori Consulting to provide additional education.
At Blue Care, we strive to improve the lives of people living with dementia, as well as supporting their carers to continue caring and have the best life possible.