So when SummitCare Baulkham Hills was being planned, creating a dementia friendly hub was a major focus to support both residents and the broader Hills community.
“There are over 400,000 Australians already living with some type of dementia, and this number is set to rise to over 530,000 in under 10 years. Creating a dementia friendly community was a priority, and involved careful consideration into not only the design of the building but also the interiors, fitout and services that are on offer," said Claire Ward, executive marketing and communication manager.
SummitCare sees dementia friendly design as not only enhancing the wellbeing of residents living with dementia but also enabling the organisation to create sustainable environments for today and into the future. The residents, family members and broader community can access a hairdresser, cafe and landscaped gardens in comfort, knowing that the peaceful and tranquil setting is conducive to people with dementia.
“We have designed spaces that will be relevant and meaningful, taking into consideration lifestyle, cultural backgrounds and personal interests,” said SummitCare CEO Cynthia Payne. “Our model of care is based on five principles — optimal health, environment, personal relationships,
meaningful activities and personal preferences. We call it our Wellbeing Hub. Working with this framework ensures we support everyone to reach their optimum wellbeing every single day.”
When planning and creating a dementia friendly community there are many things to consider, including safety and security, signage, training the entire team (from the registered nurses to the kitchen crew), and encouraging family involvement whenever possible.
In addition, the care planning process is very detailed, delving into a family's background, hobbies, photos histories and family trees. Due to SummitCare’s long history it has built strong relationships with external organisations such as Alzheimer's Australia, understanding that expert support is often required.
Australian statistics on dementia
• There are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia (184,868 (45%) males and 228,238 (55%) females).
• By 2025, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 536,164.
• Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 1,100,890 by 2056.
• In NSW, there are an estimated 138,700 people with dementia in 2017, estimated to increase to 175,000 by 2025 and 326,000 by 2056.
• Currently around 244 people are joining the population with dementia each day. The number of new cases of dementia will increase to 318 people per day by 2025 and over 650 people by 2056.
• Three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one in ten people over 65 have dementia.
• In 2017, there are an estimated 25,938 people with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to 29,375 people by 2025 and 42,252 people by 2056.
• Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians, contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year.
THE SERVICES INCLUDE:
• A hairdresser offering specific products and services, a peaceful setting, appointments at appropriate times of day and the use of non-irritant products.
• A cafe with safe indoor and outdoor areas to sit, a neutral space and a place to socialise, an area to relax and feel connected.
• A sensory garden designed to engage and enhance the outdoor experience, a safe non-toxic environment with edible plants. Trees and shrubbery that do not over stimulate, just delight.
In building Baulkham Hills, SummitCare followed best practice guidelines that ensured it created an inclusive environment, using innovations in materials that offered sustainable solutions.
By using these principles their aim is to reduce negative outcomes for people with dementia, such as agitation, confusion and wandering behaviours, and increase positive outcomes in areas such as mobility, wayfinding and activities of daily living.
Best Practice guidelines:
- Safety – is important, but is also key to enable people to have a lifestyle, so it’s all about striking a balance. For example, creating a safe environment using a material or landscaping that allows people to see more and enjoy the view beyond.
- Group size – with more people meaning potentially more distractions (which can affect behaviour), each area has its own community/neighbourhood and is named a street name.
- Visual access – it is important to allow people to clearly see where they are in their environment. This might mean setting up a lounge room so people can see through an open door into the hallway or other rooms, and having windows to look outside.
- Minimise unhelpful stimulation – unhelpful overstimulation may distress and confuse those with dementia. Solutions to this may include reducing excessive signage and using cues such as colour that may assist wayfinding.
- Support movement and engagement – arrange environments in ways that encourage people to use them. This might mean rearranging chairs around a table to make a clearer point of interest and better create an invitation to sit down.
- Create a familiar space – furniture, finishing, colours and fittings are selected based on what someone will use to make them feel comfortable and at home.
- Provide opportunities to be alone or with others – provide a range of environments that allow people to have both privacy and social interaction inside and outside.
- Provide links with the community – include a community garden or invite people to the facility to enjoy a movie night or other activities.
- Creating a meaningful way of life – facilitate environments that respond to people’s stories and allow them to continue with interests and personal preferences such as sewing or gardening.
All these elements have been carefully thought through at SummitCare Baulkham Hills so that everyone can live in an environment that is filled with warmth and there is recognition of their worth as a special and unique person.
To find out more about SummitCare Baulkham Hills or to simply book a tour, call 1300 68 55 48.