When you think about it, ageing provides the perfect opportunity to delve into new activities.
As we get older, there are fewer commitments on our time and enjoying a lifestyle that’s socially, mentally, and physically active as we age, helps to preserve wellbeing across all aspects of life.
Enjoying an active lifestyle is important for maintaining strength, flexibility, posture and balance, and while doing so, it allows us to remain engaged while socialising and meeting new people. For example: joining a Pilates class or taking up ballroom dancing is a great way to connect.
The Home Care service offered at Catholic Homes aims to keep care partners out of residential care for as long as possible while living independently at home. As part of the Home Care program, the Day Therapy Centre at St Vincent’s offers group and one-on-one sessions with allied health professionals, often exercising to music either standing or sitting.
Located in Guildford and offering stunning Swan River views, St Vincent’s is currently under redevelopment, and the state-of-the-art facility due for completion by the end of 2019 will include upgrades to the Day Therapy Centre.
Catholic Homes’ care partners already receiving a Home Care package, are also eligible to receive the Volunteers in Place Service, which is available under the Community Visitors Scheme.
Similar to a buddy system, the scheme brings together volunteers and care partners who are looking for new friendships, while allowing carers to focus on their care partners existing physical and clinical needs.
Remaining connected to your peers and community is vital at any age, and Catholic Homes facilitates the Circle of Men meetings on a regular basis, where the male members of the Catholic Homes community come together to engage in conversation and storytelling.
Led by volunteers Peter Fry and Ross Prout, the Circle of Men book was launched in 2018 featuring 16 heartfelt stories.
Catholic Homes’ monthly Dementia Support Group has recently been opened up to the public. Each session provides support to the families or anyone providing support to someone living with dementia – guest speakers have included Montessori consultant Ann Kelly and dementia educator Theresa Bates.
For many living with dementia, the loss of independence is one of the casualties of having an impaired memory. Since the implementation of Montessori into Catholic Homes in 2013, those living with dementia have become more involved in their immediate environment. It is common to find them folding tea towels or watering the vegetable patch they helped plant.
“For many living with dementia, the loss of independence is one of the casualties of having an impaired memory.”
Making a contribution gives meaning and improves self-esteem tremendously. Out in the wider community, Marist Lodge care partners worked on a knitting project for an orphanage in Phuket and Castledare Village’s care partners regularly volunteer to sort clothes for the op-shop at St Martin’s Church in Forrestfield.
Hospitality is one of Catholic Homes’ Core Values, alongside “Love and Joy”, and as part of the Montessori approach, communal dining in a buffet food service set-up empowers care partners while engaging over a shared meal.
Sometimes residential care partners miss dining out in restaurants on a regular basis. So award-winning Castledare Chef Kris Gorayah brings the restaurant to them on their birthdays with a pop-up restaurant serving the food, music, and a guest of their choice.
Music is an integral part of our lives at any age. The health benefits of singing or playing a musical instrument are plentiful and include friendship and a sense of belonging, as well as increased blood flow, stress reduction, endorphin release and improved attention and memory.
The music programme at Catholic Homes has proven to be hugely successful with programmes implemented at Archbishop Goody (2014), St Vincent’s (2014 and 2016) and in 2019, a drumming circle at Marist Lodge and a choir at Trinity Village.
Just in case you need any further incentive about embracing an active lifestyle to promote wellbeing, Catholic Home’s Occupational Therapist Carina Vigus shares: “Staying active while ageing is all about continuing to live well while ageing and not being a passive recipient of life”.
From pages 22 to 23 of Issue 20: ‘Wellbeing: Building stronger communities that flourish as a whole’ of The Record Magazine