The Village Glen is a retirement village located at Capel Sound on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and boasts over 800 residents.
Thanks to their management team they have been able to establish a 300 plot vegetable garden and currently have over 100 volunteer gardeners ranging in age from 60 to 90+.
The garden is supplied by bore water from a healthy aquafer, has two sheds full of donated tools, three greenhouses, compost bins, regular working bees, monthly meetings, a community area and, most importantly, a wonderful community spirit. They even have their own website: www.ourveggiepatch.com
The benefits of having a vegetable garden in a retirement village are numerous. It provides a sense of purpose and the residents enjoy organically grown seasonal produce. They exercise, experience social interaction and have a healthy hobby.
They are also continually learning from experience, other gardeners and guest speakers at the monthly meetings. These volunteer gardeners often talk about the sense of peace and satisfaction they experience while working in the garden.
Most plants that are grown are successful if the plot owners work the sandy soil and keep the water at an optimum level – not too much or too little. Last Summer, they produce watermelons and pumpkins so big they had to be taken home in wheelbarrows! The biggest tomato was a Mortgage Buster at 750gms.
Many of the vegetables and herbs planted are taken from Maggie’s new cookbook, Maggie's Recipe for Life, as they provide the nutrients needed for optimum brain health, and assist with the prevention of other lifestyle diseases.
Special thankyou to Barbara Collins who contacted the Maggie Beer Foundation to share their fantastic success story.
Kalyra Woodcroft aged care is a well established 83-bed home in South Australia which which will soon offer an intergenerational program like no other.
Woodcroft welcomes students from local high school Wirreanda High to visit on a regular basis. So successful has this been, the community has committed to more innovation with a co-located, middle years Montessori school.
Purpose built classrooms will be built at Kalyra Woodcroft and the Montessori school will provide experiential learning for the children which could include: - real work in the coffee shop - leading garden projects from design to implementation - teaching older people to navigate the technologies and digital world - events, art exhibitions and music concerts.
Residents at Kalyra can enjoy the company of the students who they can learn with, teach and engage.
A brilliantly innovative approach to intergenerational activities and we look forward to hearing more as the program progresses.
The way we care for older people in our communities is rapidly changing and, for the past five years, Lindsay Tighe from 'Better Questions Are The Answer' has been working with aged care professionals, training them in skills to enable older people to live a more healthy, happy and independent life. The book 'I'm Old, Not Stupid!' makes these skills available to family members of older people and provides strategies to communicate and engage with them in a way that enables better outcomes and supports their independence and wellbeing.
Most of us struggle with knowing how to cope with and adapt to the differing needs of elderly parents and relatives so this must read resource will provide invaluable insights and guidance about how to do this more effectively.
Dementia Care International is an independent social enterprise based in Australia that is behind the internationally awarded Spark of Life Philosophy. For both people with dementia and their supporting partners, whether family or health care professionals, this unique philosophy enriches their daily experience by focusing on what is possible. ‘Spark of Life is a strong heart-centred philosophy that is inspiring and nurturing and offers hope to all involved,’ says Founder & CEO Jane Verity.
Today, we often think of the person who has dementia as a patient and forget there is a human being underneath. When we focus on the label of dementia we don’t expect the person to get better and dismiss any improvement. When we instead shift focus from the label or diagnosis to the person’s remaining abilities and potential, we can see the whole picture and recognise improvement and the recovery of lost abilities.
“The philosophy focuses on how the person with dementia feels and experiences life, what their needs are and how we can best support them to live their life to their full potential” says Ms Verity.
Those who practise the Spark of Life Philosophy ensure everyone feels valued and appreciated, believed in and loved, they have the opportunity to grow and have a voice and the power to choose.
In residential and community care, the Spark of Life Philosophy is implemented into the entire culture of care in a sustainable way that benefits everyone who lives, visits and works there. This implementation is facilitated by a Spark of Life Master Practitioner, who has undertaken the 3-week International Spark of Life Master Course, which is held twice a year in Perth. Worldwide there are Master Practitioners in 10 countries across five continents. When the philosophy is embedded into the entire culture of care, an organisation or a service can then apply to become certified as a Spark of Life Centre of Excellence.
Kerry Scott, whose Mum has dementia, had her relationship with her mother restored after experiencing the Spark of Life Philosophy. “The turning point for me was being able to accept mum for who she is now. The insights into how she is feeling helped me to understand what she is going through. Now it doesn’t matter that Mum no longer knows who I am, it matters that she knows she is loved.”
For more information on the Spark of Life Philosophy, community presentations and membership that supports individuals, please visit: www.dementiacareinternational.com
Careship is a non-profit organisation that aims to establish a (residential) care farm for people living with dementia in Australia. Care farming is the provision of social care in a meaningful work setting such as a small scale farm - in Coorong's case - a snail farm. It is a popular concept in Europe and the United States but this is the first program of its kind in Australia.
At Careship, people living with dementia help with the breeding, feeding and harvesting of the snails.
"They also have the opportunity to help with a flower garden, vegetable gardening or just sit around and have a bit of a chat," said the farm's co-ordinator, Claudia Ait-Touati.
"They're able to get more self-esteem because the focus is on their abilities and not on the disabilities."
Ms Ait-Touati first came across the care farm concept in The Netherlands when her father was diagnosed with dementia.
"After the diagnosis of Alzheimer's he sat in his room, wouldn't go outside, got quite depressed and when he started going to the care farm he made new friends, he felt valued again," she said.
"The success and the benefits that it had to my father made us realise that is what we needed and wanted here in Australia as well."
While only in its initial stages, the care farm will grow and expand so that people impacted by dementia are able to assist with various other tasks on the farm, giving them a sense of purpose and value.