Innovation and Specialisation: Dementia Care at Home

Dr Leonie Williams, The Senior Helpers

 

Abstract

The changes outlined in the 2015 Budget forecast a radical change in the management of Home Care Packages, there is an ideal opportunity with adequate lead-time for home care providers to develop niche services that are cost-effective and attractive to those who seek continuing quality of life in the community.

The statistics regarding the predicted numbers of Australians developing dementia into the future foreshadow the need for increased services that are dementia-specific in the community. While current models offer support and respite, alternate models can offer greater choice for consumers. As a private provider, Senior Helpers in Tasmania has access to and utilises a proprietary dementia training program aimed specifically for community services. The Senior Gems® Program is a positive approach to dementia care with a focus on supporting the abilities of the person with dementia while respecting what is lost. A developmental training program with ongoing support for home care staff is central. However educating and encouraging families and their circle of supporters is a supplementary but essential component using a personalised approach to promote consistency, respect and safety for the client.

The Senior Gems®, developed by Senior Helpers and Occupational Therapist Teepa Snow has been utilised in the USA for a decade. It is increasingly recognised as an effective approach to assist seniors at all stages of their dementia experience to live a purposeful life at home among the people with whom they have shared their lifetime.

This presentation will outline the key aspects of the Senior Gems® program and how it has been utilised successfully in Tasmania to provide new skills and opportunities for seniors and their families grappling with the challenges of dementia at home.

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