Throughout the month, Bethanie will present a number of free seminars across Western Australia titled 'A Time To Live'. Facilitated by Bethanie Dementia Consultant Michelle Marris, 'A Time to Live' will aim to show that living with dementia is a unique experience for each individual.
“Dementia causes change in the pathology of the brain and this is unique for each person because we all have our own DNA, culture and life experience,” says Ms Marris.
To support local residents in the Bethanie Gwelup Aged Care Facility, the introduction of a personalised ‘memory box’ for each resident will contain mementos from their past. The memory boxes are hoped to provide an additional gateway of communication between staff and residents.
“Meaningful engagement in communication must go beyond everyday activities such as showering and eating. It’s about psychosocial and spiritual connection; it’s about being human. The memory box allows us to connect in a meaningful way to each person as an individual,” says Ms Marris.
Similarly, the Bethanie Fields Aged Care Facility is looking into launching another initiative named ‘The Front Door’ project.
The project will entail all 32 residents to be choose a personalised motif of their choice to fix on their bedroom door. The door motif, selected by the resident and/or a family member, and will resemble a familiar symbol in their life. Ms Marris hopes that “not only will it assist with orientation but it will also replace the clinical atmosphere to make it a more homely environment.”
Separate from Dementia Awareness Month, Bethanie have also recently launched the much anticipated 'Big Bethanie Bake Off' for the fourth year running. The Bake Off encourages school children to pair up with a grandparent to present a family recipe along with a story behind it, aiming to close the intergenerational gap between seniors and today’s youth. Finalists are invited to the Grand Finale where they are able to showcase their skills and compete for prizes, along with the opportunity to have their recipe published.
The competition is open to those currently living in Western Australia and has been a success since its initial launch three years ago.
The Beth-a-lympics at Bethanie Beachside was also held last month, with over 40 residents across four Bethanie residential aged care facilities participating.
The games also encourage inter-residential bonding, as commented by Bethanie Beachside resident Richard Mason.
“It is very enjoyable – I like seeing residents from where I used to live as I was at Bethanie Illawong.”
The Beth-a-lympics not only encourages residents to keep physically and socially active, but to also boost the spirits of both residents and the staff for the upcoming annual Live Lighter Games held this September at Joondalup Arena.
Dementia Awareness Month aims to raise awareness in the general community and support those currently living with dementia. The theme this year is ‘You Are Not Alone’.
For more information or support, contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 (free call) or visit www.fightdementia.org.au.