The Changing Culture in Aged Care



The Advertiser, 9 January 2017

THE like-it-or-lump-it approach that sees children throwing dinner, bath and bedtime tantrums has long been used in aged care but is finally falling from favour.

Regimented schedules in aged care-homes are being replaced with progressive thinking that puts residents at the centre of the plan, says Alzheimer’s Australia SA acting chief executive officer Rajiv Chand.

“Aged care is now very much moving to person-centred care,” he says.

“Not everyone likes to get up at 7am, have a shower and have breakfast.

“It’s (about) getting used to that thinking that we’re all unique.

“You shouldn’t need to conform to the schedule. Why can’t the schedule work around you?”

Mr Chand says every resident used to get the same food and the same care at the same times but they were likely to be happier if they were treated as individuals, instead of as a group.

“Not everyone likes porridge or toast for breakfast,” he says.

“It’s about being very much in tune with a person’s likes or dislikes.

“It’s very simple but it used to happen — everyone used to get the same everything.”

He says many of the changes to dementia care do not have to cost more.

As well as changing how staff relate to residents and how their schedules are managed, care providers are doing more to create a homelike atmosphere.

Mr Chand says there is “very much a positive trend” in aged care and people looking for a place for their parent living with dementia should do their homework.

“Do your research; go to a few aged-care homes,” he says.

“Maybe get there at lunch time and sit there for an hour or two. You’ll work out if this is the right place you want to put your mum or dad.”

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