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Seniors say sense of belonging as important as clinical care

For seniors, having a sense of home at an aged care facility is just as important as the clinical care they receive, according to a new report.

Victorian not-for-profit aged care provider Benetas has contributed to Anglicare Australia’s State of the Family Report, which explores the importance of belonging for older people.

Benetas chief executive Sandra Hills said with this in mind, the organisation had been implementing efforts to give older people a better experience when transitioning into an aged care facility.

“Older people have a right to a sense of belonging and a feeling of security as they age, and this shouldn’t be compromised just because they have entered residential aged care,” Hills said.

“Our new approach to aged care is part of placing the older person at the heart of everything we do, and this has then gone on to inform how our systems and processes interact, and how we understand the role of the built form.”

As part of the initiative, Benetas has introduced aged care apartment sites in Mornington and Frankston in Victoria.

“Our apartment model sees small groups of residents who share common ground living together and sharing living and dining areas,” Hills said.

“The model prioritises the relationships between carers and residents, with each apartment supported by a primary carer who gets to know and understand the needs of each resident.

“We’ve very proud of our approach and encourage government and industry to continue to better understand and value the needs of older people, including their right to a positive older age.”

The essay’s author, Dr Catherine Joyce, said the document was further evidence that aged care providers needed to focus on creating a sense of home and improving the wellbeing of residents.

“Creating a sense of home within settings such as residential aged care is inherently challenging, but providers must embrace this as we support increasing consumer choice and control.”

Meaning of Home: State of the Family Report 2017 is being launched today by Anglicare Australia. To access the full report visit: www.anglicare.asn.au.

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