As people live longer, healthier lives, the role of aged care providers in supporting wellness and wellbeing throughout the aged care journey will only become more important.
Allied health and therapy programs must now focus on restorative care and wellbeing approaches that not only rehabilitate, but look at a person’s overall wellbeing and provide effective, multi-channel programs that support their physical and mental health.
Not-for-profit aged care provider Uniting AgeWell introduced a Wellness Model in 2018 that took a holistic view of the needs and wants of older people and their families, irrespective of funding streams and service types.
Uniting AgeWell established AgeWell Centres (hubs) across Victoria and Tasmania to provide spaces where people can come in for a chat, find assistance to navigate the aged care system, and optimise their quality of life via evidence-based exercise programs.
The new model was based on research that showed exercise, social activities, relaxation, education and technology positively impacted wellbeing, anxiety and depression in older people.
On offer are more affordable services and an expanded range of programs enabling better tailoring of services to meet customer needs and greater program choice and flexibility.
The model makes it easier for customers in residential aged care and independent living to access wellbeing programs suitable to them.
The person-centred and directed care model starts with the end goal in mind, and focuses on each individual’s journey to achieve their goals and aspirations.
A client may want to use the gym at an AgeWell Centre once a week and attend a group class with an exercise physiologist or see another allied health professional once a week, depending on their personal situation.
Uniting AgeWell also offers activity groups and outings at their AgeWell Centres, to provide social support, including specialist groups for people with particular conditions including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Under Uniting AgeWell’s wellness focus, exercise physiologists can help develop appropriate exercise and movement programs as part of these groups.
Kathy Bacsa, pictured, is proof that tailored programs can have amazing results.
Kathy came to the Noble Park AgeWell Centre in chronic pain and only able to lift her leg three inches off the ground. A problem during a kn
ee replacement left the avid rock ‘n’ roll dancer in a coma and on life support, and when she eventually left hospital she could barely walk.
“When I came to Uniting AgeWell’s Noble Park gym I was a little bit lost,” she said. “I’d been to other rehab places but they didn’t understand my needs.
“The program and equipment have helped me so much; they’re just what I needed. They strengthened me up very, very well and what has been set out for me is just right. Now I’m working towards getting back to dancing!”
As part of its commitment to enabling all people to age well, Uniting AgeWell sponsored the new series of Channel 31 program Move It Or Lose It, and created four episodes aimed at supporting seniors to live well at home. The new series airs daily at 8.30am, and is published on the Move It Or Lose ItAustralia YouTube channel.
For more information visit unitingagewell.org