The model that works...
By: Tamar Krebs, the RN and aged care supervisor who knew there must be a better way in 2009... her dream came true in 2012.
Dementia is a growing challenge. We are living longer and diagnosing it better. This creates a critical need for appropriate care models for this ballooning cohort of Australians. Every day, 250 people are diagnosed with dementia in Australia, and this number is expected to rise to 318 people per day by 2025. If we don't address dementia as a specific care need, the cost to our country will become unmanageable as families and care workers struggle, and care settings are ill-equipped.
At this point in time, there is a shortfall in the system. Funding does not match the needs of the community; we are not able to seamlessly navigate different care options or access funding when it is needed. There has been a focus on nursing home and clinical models, rather than the benefits of small-scale, social models. We talk about people suffering with dementia rather then focusing on supporting people to live beyond a diagnosis. There is a fear in our community that surrounds dementia. This fear is created from a lack of understanding and fear of the future of care. For those living with dementia, there is a challenge for them and their care partners to find the right kind of care, so that they can be supported to live rather than suffer. This system can be a minefield to navigate and is not made easier by an extra layer of emotion.
There is a model that works. The Group Homes Australia model is a small-scale social model that focuses on residents' abilities rather than their disabilities. It has health and social benefits and supports dignity of choice and engages residents to live beyond their diagnosis. At Group Homes Australia, we believe that the environment is a contributing therapeutic factor for someone living with dementia. If the environment is too big, it can be overstimulating and disabling, causing the person living with dementia to feel vulnerable. Whereas a small-scale environment has many benefits.
We believe that small scale living environments such as Group Homes Australia allow community members to live beyond a dementia diagnosis, to flourish and ultimately receive the quality care they need and deserve. When people are given the dignity, respect and care that they need in the best setting that suits them then there is ultimately more value to the community.
By providing a more trustworthy and clear system for navigating the industry, will help those seeking care, find the best option for them. It can create a better quality of life for residents, families who feel supported and a health system that is not overhauled.