Dementia Australia partnership enriches Moyola residents’ lives
Moyola Lodge staff and residents received a well-deserved pat on the back last week for their work with Dementia Australia and introducing name tags, chooks and a 24-hour snack grazing station, providing independence for residents living with dementia.
The aged-care home started the program in September last year to provide staff with more knowledge and learn how to better support residents with dementia.
Facility manager Jacqui McEwan said from there the team picked three projects.
‘‘We now have the two chooks that live down in the Margaret Love Wing, residents are using name tags, which has helped with communication, and the food’s been great as far as promoting independence,’’ Ms McEwan said.
She said working with the team at Dementia Australia had been great to focus on supporting residents to be as independent as possible.
‘‘Just because they have dementia doesn’t mean that they’re not capable of doing things themselves, it’s about us putting that support in place so that they can maintain that independence,’’ Ms McEwan said.
Journey of the name tags
Personal carer Claire Farrow said the ‘‘journey of the name tags’’ started with stickers to see the reactions of the residents.
‘‘There was a lot of different feedback from staff noticing the residents were reacting to this, staff being called by their names and a lot more conversations began,’’ Ms Farrow said.
Residents began to accept the approach of wearing their name tags and now take pride in wearing them.
With the name tags promoting more conversation and interaction with staff, Ms Farrow said the residents recognised when someone was not wearing one.
‘‘One of our residents asked a senior worker what her name was, as she had forgotten to wear her name badge,’’ she said.
24-hour grazing station
To further support the positive change in the wing, the 24-hour snack grazing station also provided great feedback.
By providing more appealing food to satisfy the residents, Ms McEwan said the team had achieved independence, preserved dignity and increased self-esteem in the residents’ abilities in what they could do for themselves.
‘‘Through the project our aim was to support, promote and encourage choice and independence in nutrition through the use of visual stimulation and varieties of finger foods,’’ Ms McEwan said.
She said another part of the initiative was to get residents up and involved by encouraging them to assist staff with loading up a tea trolley and wheel it around to offer other residents some of the meal choices.
‘‘This initiative has seen one of our residents . . . become more and more involved in the daily life here at Moyola, he helps with morning and afternoon tea, and he walks down with staff members to collect the meal trolleys from the main kitchen,’’ Ms McEwan said.
Aged care facility chief executive officer Polly Devine said the decision to welcome chooks as the third project was evident because ‘‘we live in a rural, remote area where a lot of people are from farms’’.
‘‘The chooks arrived, schedules were made about feeding and what time they were in and out, everyone was pretty excited, but no-one expected that they actually like concrete . . . so there was droppings everywhere,’’ Ms Devine said.
She said the residents stepped up and were out every morning with the chooks, letting them out and grabbing the broom to clean up.
‘‘The chooks are happy here and every morning I have a visitor . . . with two bantams . . . one’s called Blackie and one’s called Betty White,’’ Ms Devine said.
‘‘It says a lot about introducing animals into a unit for residents and the increase of communication and comfort.’’
Staff demonstrations concluded with thanks to Garrie O’Toole and Liz Keating from Dementia Australia for their great direction to hatch the plans.
Dementia Australia facilitator consultant Liz Keating said the program was about shifting mindsets and ways of working with those who are living with dementia.
‘‘Giving residents an opportunity to have roles, and to help staff realise that if people have a diagnosis of dementia, it does not mean to say they can not do anything any more,’’ Ms Keating said.
‘‘They’re still able to contribute and be in the world, and have that dignity and independence and maintain their confidence.’’
Facilitator consultant Mr O’Toole said it was an honour to be working with the team at Moyola Lodge.
‘‘Just to work with you and see the enthusiasm and the excitement and being able to work through the challenges that inevitability arise, just to see the excitement on their faces,’’ Mr O’Toole said.
Both facilitators felt that they had formed a bond with the staff and residents at Moyola Lodge.
‘‘Across the period of themonths that we’ve been working with Polly and the team here we have seen the growth and it can only get bigger and better and even more amazing because you were amazing to start with,’’ Ms Keating said.
Feathered friends: Moyola Lodge resident Muriel and lifestyle coordinator Carmel Wearne bond with Margaret Love Wing bantams Blackie and Betty White as part of the Dementia Australia program.
Teamwork: Moyola Lodge staff met with Dementia Australia to discuss their progress since teaming up in September last year.