Destigmatising Dementia: Calvary Care (NSW, ACT & SA) Partners with Leef Independent Living Solutions

3 years ago
innovAGEING > Case Studies > Destigmatising Dementia: Calvary Care (NSW, ACT & SA) Partners with Leef Independent Living Solutions

Almost one in 10 Australians over the age of 65 have dementia. Traditionally people with dementia had little hope for quality of life, and there were few engagement activities to inspire them.

Today we understand that people living with dementia should be given the opportunity to maintain their independence and experience quality of life, for as long as possible, however the specific nature of individual cases can become an impossible task for caregivers.

Working with Leef Independent Living Solutions
Calvary Care in NSW, ACT and SA partnered with Leef Independent Living Solutions to provide game-changing technologies that support their commitment to holistic, resident-focused care. Calvary Care’s Dementia and Wellbeing Consultant, Colin McDonnell, took this to a level previously not attained.

Working with the team from Leef, Calvary’s 14 residential aged care homes introduced technology solutions that support the intact sensations and emotions still available for those with advanced dementia, enabling them to:

  • Experience more
  • Gain pleasure from those experiences
  • Be supported to participate no matter the level of ongoing physical and cognitive challenges

The approach was client-centred, intuitive and invites participation, without the need for additional supervision, extensive set-up, or one-to-one care.

This collaboration also saw Leef work with Calvary Care Retirement Communities to introduce new products to the Wellbeing & Innovations portfolio, and trialling new activities at Calvary for user feedback.

The magic of bringing back joy
Leef’s programs are all about bringing the joy of living back into a person’s life. Here are some examples:

  • The BikeAround: This can take the user to places they long for, or have always wanted to visit, with a bit of help from handlebars, a pedalling unit and software connected to Google Street View.
  • The Tovertafel: A ‘magic table’ designed to create moments of happiness regardless of cognitive or functional ability, through play.

Improvements in wellbeing
The new programs encouraged residents to engage in activities that they were in control of, rather than taking a back seat and struggling to follow what was happening. People living with dementia often have interactive abilities that go unnoticed, and the new activities were tapping into what they could still do, their emotions, and personality. This resulted in improved participation levels, physical activity and range of movement, and positive impacts on appetite, sleep, arousal states, and a more regular daily routines.

Technology for sustained change
The take-home message for innovators is that, to create real and sustained change  in the age services sector, the provision of technologies for nourishment of the ‘person within’ must be:

  • Intuitive
  • Able to be offered to people as a group
  • Enable people of different functional levels to participate concurrently
  • Have cognitive as well as physical or movement benefits
  • Foster enjoyment without reliance on staff to drive the activity

More information

Colin McDonnell was a Finalist in the innovAGEING Age Services Innovator of the Year Award 2020.