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Levin Home’s approach to dementia care

Levin Home’s approach to dementia care

Levin Home resident Thelma Payne feeds the home’s animals.

Levin Home for War Veteran’s unique approach to dementia care is restoring a “zest for life” amongst elders, according to the home’s manager.

The experience of dementia can cause stress, frustration and even depression for not only the person experiencing memory loss, but for their loved ones too, explains Manager Joanna Thomson.

But Enliven’s Levin Home for War Veterans embraces an approach which focuses on returning the sparkle to the eyes of those with advanced dementia and reigniting their passion for life.

“At Levin Home we believe in taking every opportunity to bring companionship, spontaneity, fun, meaning and purpose into the lives of elders,” says Joanna.

“We support people with dementia to upkeep their usual routines, hobbies and connections with family, friends and the community, while living safe in a secure, purpose-built home at Matai Cottage.”

The difference, she says, is the focus on connecting with the person with dementia, understanding their perspective and interacting in ways that keep the elders connected to the world around them.

“We see the benefits of this approach every day, including seeing improvements in language, memory, self-esteem and the way our elders interact with each other, the staff and their families.”

Enliven healthcare assistant Maria Beattie says the approach fits with Enliven’s model of care called the Eden Alternative, which is an elder-directed philosophy that combats loneliness, helplessness and boredom amongst elders.

“Here it’s all about creating a home where life is full of spontaneity, meaningful activity and companionship.”

Maria says often the little things make a big difference.

“We have raised gardens that the residents can tend to if they like, and animals and children are a big part of life here,” says Maria.

Levin Home for War Veterans is even home to chickens, rabbits and cats, which the residents help to look after.

“Animals can provide comfort, they can be nurtured and they can bring back memories of childhood. One resident feeds the chooks and collects the eggs every day and another resident always feeds the rabbits. They love doing it and it gives them responsibility and meaningful activity,” says Maria.

“Just because someone is affected by advanced memory loss doesn’t mean their memories can’t be triggered. It’s about finding the things that they enjoy doing that spark memories, and the rest flows from there.”

Levin Home for War Veterans is operated by Enliven, part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian Support Central, and provides rest home, hospital and dementia care, as well as respite and health recovery.

To find out more about Levin Home for War Veterans, located on the corner of Prouse and Matai Streets in Levin, 06 366 0052 or click here.

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