How social centres create friendly spaces for those living with dementia
Keeping a person’s memories vibrant is an important part of Silver Chain’s dementia-friendly services offered at our many Social Centres throughout regional and metro Western Australia.
At our social centres we’ve created safe and stimulating settings, like the memory corridor at the Mandurah Social Centre. Within the corridor there are familiar items such as kitchen utensils and gardening tools. Light switches and padlocks are available too – a favourite amongst the men.
These familiar items help people living with dementia cope with sundowning or late day confusion by helping to spark memories and combat confusion and restlessness.
Mandurah also has a sensory garden, which features a wandering path as people living with dementia enjoy outdoors and sensory surroundings.
The path is a continuous loop, which benefits for clients living with dementia. Familiar flowers and scented plants such as lavender, lemon and lime trees, are commonplace, and help provide a sense of familiarity and comfort for clients. There are shaded seated areas where people can sit with their friends to chat.
Building community connections
The multicultural Fremantle Social Centre has clients originating from many places around the world. Working with students from the nearby Kerry Street Community School, there’s a stunning garden including orange and olive trees, and market garden fruit and vegetables.
The Social Centres have joined forces with play groups in their local areas to offer clients the chance to build relationships with the younger generation, bringing many clients a great deal of joy.
And there’s everyday activities to keep visits fun. From re-enacting a movie, to lining up chairs and holding a fashion parade, there are many events featured on the calendar.
Light exercise classes and activities such as arts and crafts, bingo and board games are important forms of stimulation but is the Social Centre’s “armchair travel” days that inspire people to share their memories.
“Armchair travel gives people an opportunity to share photos, memorabilia and music from their lives,” explains Social Centre Co-ordinator, Mandy Holmshaw.
“We have people visiting the centre who are from all over the world, so it’s beautiful to see them share their culture, and for others to learn about other cultures”.
Reminiscence and memory recall is an important focus at all Social Centres. Clients have their own playlists on iPads, enabling them to listen to familiar music which helps to stimulate these memories.
Helping people stay at home
As well as providing a social outlet, the Social Centre aims to help people maintain their daily living skills so they can remain at home for as long as possible.
They also offer family and carers respite, with the knowledge that their loved one is being well taken care of.
Our Social Centres in the Perth metropolitan area (located in Mandurah, Fremantle and Rockingham) offer a door-to-door transport service for clients, and many of the staff are specifically trained as Dementia Champions, accredited by Alzheimer’s Australia. The training involves techniques to help support clients with dementia on a daily basis.
Facilities at all our Social Centres are specially equipped to cater for clients with dementia, but Silver Chain’s support for people with dementia does continue into the home via the services we offer.
As one of Australia’s biggest home care providers, we gain trust and confidence by getting to know each person’s interests, passions and hobbies. Home care services include personal care and wellbeing which can be tailored to the specific needs, goals and preferences of a person living with dementia.
Tips for people living with dementia
Provide comfort and familiarity.
Stick to a schedule.
Help the person stay active.
Take note of what items, activities or situations cause them to get stuck or trigger memories and use them to keep them active and engaged.
Use positive body language and touch - an important part of communication.
Get dementia support
For more details about our dementia support services, call us on (08) 9242 0242 (or 1300 650 803 for country callers) to discuss your needs. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.