Moving into an aged care residence can be a traumatic time for an entire family. It can generally take more than six weeks for a person to fully settle into their new environment and depression can be common amongst new residents.
Villa Maria and Swinburne University's Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre (BPsyC) established the Wellbeing Clinic to provide residents, staff and families with psychology services free of charge.
Postgraduate students meet with residents identified by staff as struggling to cope with the transition to aged care.
Wally, 95, moved into the aged care residence in Wantirna two years ago and was one of the first participants in the innovative Wellbeing Clinic.
Wally looks forward to his weekly visits from student, Imelda Verbraak, who has helped bring Wally “out of his shell”.
"I feel free to talk to her. She just wants to know my life history and all the good and bad things I have done," Wally says.
"It's nice to know somebody cares; her visit is always appreciated."
Wally's daughter, Marlyn, and staff at the residence say they have seen a big difference in his demeanour since taking part in the program and he now spends more time out of his room and mingling with other residents.
The results of the program have been positive, with Villa Maria now rolling out the program to its other residences at Bundoora, Berwick and O'Neill.