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Down Syndrome NSW
Level 6/410 Church St, North Parramatta
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T: 9841 444

Saturday, 10 July 2010

When I'm old [or if I have a disability] I'll still want soft poached eggs .....

Stephen Judd, the CEO of HammondCare, a leading provider of aged and dementia care wrote a thought provoking column for the Sydney Morning Herald today (Saturday 12th July 2010), about whose needs are being met by the way the daily round is often organised in aged care.

We currently hear a lot about the importance of "person-centred planning" and "individualised services" in planning to meet the needs of people with intellectual (and other) disabilities, so how close to the bone would it sound if we were to substitute "people with intellectual disabilities" for "older citizens" and "supported accommodation" for "aged care" in Stephen Judd's column? Or does enlightened, modern thinking have something to offer to aged care?

Stephen Judd starts,

Everyone has different rhythms, preferences and choices. I like having breakfast at a table reading the newspaper, while other strange people like breakfast in bed, with all the crumbs and bacon in the sheets.

But if an older Australian moves into residential care, he has to be up and dressed at 8am. Rather than being allowed to sleep in, older citizens are obliged to conform to a regimented schedule revolving around what suits staff or operational efficiencies, rather than continuing to enjoy the daily rhythms most people have enjoyed for many years.

Many relatives are pleased to hear a home provides activities to enjoy, and the accreditation agency likes it too. But do older citizens enjoy them? My aunt was a sociable woman, but in an aged care facility she had a violent reaction to being almost compelled to participate in group activities. "It makes me feel like a child at a compulsory school camp."

She is not alone. In Melbourne a study of 25 carers and 25 residents from five hostels found that although participation was valued and encouraged by carers, residents were left feeling isolated, compromised and as though they were not at home.

Read the whole piece here, and just try substituting "people with intellectual disabilities" for "older citizens" .....

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