Dementia may not be a topic people generally like talking about, but as highlighted in a recent snapshot of the health of Australians, it is a growing reality for many.
Australia’s ageing population means dementia is becoming more common, as detailed in a biennial report released in June.
Australia’s health 2018 pointed out that “Australia’s ageing population and increases in life expectancy increase the effect dementia has on society”.
An estimated 376,000 people in Australia have dementia and this figure is projected to grow to 550,000 by 2030.
So how do we, as a society support those living with dementia and their carers?
In a re-purposed house in Wembley, support workers are doing everything they can to provide enriching experiences to people living with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment whilst providing much needed respite to their loved ones who care for them on a day-to-day basis.
MercyCare’s Davis House is a respite-centre that caters for upwards of a dozen people living with dementia each day. By night, the house plays host to four people providing essential respite to their carers.
The staff at Davis House work closely with carers, GPs and health professional to ensure a holistic plan. The focus is on providing a range of care and activities tailored to each individual’s needs ensuring optimal independence and wellbeing.
Activities provide opportunities for social interaction, cognitive stimulation, reminiscence and physical therapy.
Some examples are:
• Movement activities help build strength and prevent falls.
• Group activities such as quizzes and puzzles, memory prompting activities and recognition games aim to keep people’s minds active.
• A positive atmosphere is created through music, we have a couple of visitors who enjoy playing the piano and we also have friendly volunteers who visit regularly to play the piano, get the group involved in singalongs or just enjoy some tunes.
Visitors are warmly welcomed and encouraged to make themselves at home at the house and join in any of the activities.
Davis House is committed to providing a home like environment and by doing so provide essential respite to dedicated carers, enabling them to have their loved one remain living at home for as long as possible.
Those who visit Davis House each have varying levels of dementia but in recent years Davis House has specialised more in high care.
MercyCare provides a number of services to people living with dementia:
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