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Aged care's 'bucket list'

A new program dubbed 'The Bucket List' is giving aged care residents living with dementia a sense of self worth and achievement by offering them the opportunity to do what they once thought impossible.
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UnitingCare Ageing Starrett Lodge resident, Marcia Bannister (right), is living out her dreams through the provider's new Bucket List program.

Residents of New South Wales' UnitingCare Ageing's Starrett Lodge at Hamlyn Terrace have found joy in having the time of their life experiencing plane flights, sky diving and deep sea fishing and luxury dining.

The Bucket List program's success has earned Starrett Lodge recognition on a national level as the facility received a 2014 Better Practice Award.

The award recognises UnitingCare Ageing's innovation and excellence in seeking to improve the lifestyle and quality of life of residents living with dementia.

“I had the best day of my life,” says 92 year old resident, Marcia Bannister, after ticking off one on her Bucket List – her first ever aeroplane flight. “I am thrilled to be alive!” she adds.

Colin McDonnell, Starrett Lodge service manager, says a resident managed committee raises funds to pay for the activities.

"The residents are fully engaged in a life worth living, building self worth alongside social inclusion,” Mr McDonnell says.

Videos and photos record their dreams realised. The positive benefits of the program, as well as the 100% participation of residents, have surprised and inspired residents, staff, families and the wider community.

There are now plans to incorporate the Bucket List into a planned state wide dementia program.

“It’s exciting to see each person turn their dreams into reality,” Ms Bannister says.

The Better Practice Awards 2014 were judged and presented by the Australian Government Accreditation and Quality Agency (AACQA).

The national awards promote quality and encourage innovation in residential aged care. UnitingCare Ageing received six Better Practice Awards in total across three categories.

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