With new government restrictions placed on who can enter aged care homes, providers will be asking themselves how they can keep residents engaged and healthy, both mentally and physically.
With the spread of COVID-19 any non-essential staff are not be able to enter aged care homes, including: entertainment, school children and visits with friends and families have been limited to two per day with time restraints placed at the provider’s discretion.
Changes in life and routine can be difficult for anyone, but Dementia Australia chief executive Maree McCabe believes this will be particularly hard on those with dementia.
“It’s really important that, wherever possible, we can keep that routine steady in times of lockdown,” she said.
“One of those ways is where they’re used to having visitors at a particular time, if their family member or loved one phones in and speaks to them over the phone. They can certainly speak to them on FaceTime further away for managing this. It’s our intention to support providers in every way we can to ensure that people living with dementia are well-supported and they’re well-supported in caring for them.
“I’ve had calls from providers letting us know what they’re doing, how they’re managing the situation, asking for advice about how they can manage some of the challenges and changes of routine.
“We’ve been providing that advice and supporting them in every way we can. These really are extraordinary times and we’ve not seen anything like this. Well, I’ve certainly not seen anything like this in my lifetime.”
McCabe is urging aged care providers to do all they can to find alternative ways to keep residents with dementia in touch with society and Dementia Australia has released ‘help sheets’ to navigate these tough times.
“There is confusion in the community and new rules announced daily to keep pace with this rapidly evolving situation,” McCabe said.
“For people living dementia this can create even more uncertainty.
“We have developed these Help Sheets to provide clarity on what people can do to achieve the best possible outcomes for people living with dementia.”
Helping people in the aged care system, outside of age care homes, is a priority for McCabe and on top of the tip sheets, Dementia Australia will be making home calls to support people.
“We’re also doing call-outs to some of those people to ensure that they have everything that they need and, if they don’t, how we can best support them. Some of our face-to-face programs and services will move to being online for a period of time, so that we’re minimising the risk of spreading infection or our staff contracting infection,” she said.
“We are here to support people living with dementia, their family, carers and friends, and anyone in the health and aged care industries.”
For any help call the dementia hotline 1800 100 500 or go to www.dementia.org.auDo you have an idea for a story?
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