What do residential aged care facilities provide?
Many people feel nervous about moving into aged care but there is no need for concern.
The majority of modern residential aged facilities offer a way to live in comfort and safety, surrounded by friends and smiling faces. Residents at these facilities enjoy access to the best health care as well as broader support of their mental and physical wellbeing.
If you’re unsure about what to expect from an aged care home and are feeling a little nervous about relocating yourself or a loved one, that’s understandable. To help familiarise you with what to expect, here is an in-depth outline of what aged care homes provide.
What to expect from a modern aged care home
Aged care homes around Australia are generally clean, well-staffed and dedicated to the needs of their residents. They celebrate life and the staff work hard to keep everyone happy and healthy.
Visit an aged care facility and you’ll find a welcoming and positive environment. There may be kitchenettes, guest quarters and an on-site cafe, but here is a list of what you can commonly expect:
Naturally, the first thing an aged care home offers is a place to live. At most facilities, you don’t need to worry about dormitory living or having a roommate. Instead, there are private rooms equipped with a television, an ensuite bathroom, inbuilt wardrobes and usually a wi-fi connection.
Rooms will also often have technology to help in the event of a fall or accident. This usually comes in the form of easy to see buttons at floor level. Some facilities also offer in-built sensors which can detect a fall and quickly alert the relevant people. This technology is increasingly being adopted in facilities across Australia.
A room at a residential aged care home is not like a ward at a hospital. It will be comfortable, self-contained and personal. While on-call staff make regular checks, privacy is respected. Residents can bring their belongings and make the place feel like home.
When you move into an aged care facility, there are people to help you with everyday tasks.
As a resident, there is no need to call a plumber or electrician yourself. All you need to do is let the staff know that a light bulb needs replacing, etc. Rooms are regularly cleaned, laundry is taken care of and sheets are changed by the people who work on-site.
Care and support
Aged care homes provide services that are tailored for elderly Australians of all backgrounds.
At a quality residential aged care facility, staff are on hand to help with things like grooming and personal care if you need them.
As people age, they often require help with mobility. If you or your loved one require support to get around, staff at the facility will assist with getting in and out of bed, moving between rooms and eating. If dexterity is an issue, the staff can even check batteries in remote controls or take a look at hearing aids that are acting up.
Naturally, medical care is a major priority for residents in aged care homes. Most facilities have registered nurses on-site, often 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other staff will be AINs (assistants in nursing) or hold a certificate-level qualification in aged care.
If there is not a GP on-site every day, there will be one who visits regularly. It depends on the size of the facility and the requirements of the residents.
Allied health professionals also visit aged care homes to work with the residents and support their wellbeing. These specialists include:
– Occupational therapists
– Hearing specialists.
Maintaining the mental and physical health of residents is a priority for all quality aged care homes. Generally, small medical or health issues can be handled in-house. Otherwise doctor or hospital visits will be arranged.
Many modern aged care homes also utilise the latest technology to help everyone keep track of health checks and wellbeing. Aged care specific apps and software allow staff to securely store data that includes records of checkups etc. This information can then be shared with approved family members or relevant medical experts. It’s a way to give everyone better peace of mind.
Aged care homes know their residents aren’t as mobile as they used to be. Quality facilities will have carefully designed handrails in the right places. Wheelchairs and other mobility assisting devices will also be accommodated. There will be ramps and lifts to provide access for less mobile residents or the residents using wheelchairs.
Australian residential aged care facilities have common areas for eating, watching television, and socialising. It will be easy to meet up for a cuppa, a chat, or to catch up on some tv with fellow residents.
Lounge rooms and dining areas make it easy to organise social gatherings. The staff at aged care homes will also facilitate events in the common spaces. You can expect regular card nights, sing a longs and classic movie screenings.
Aged care staff are keenly aware of the importance of mental stimulation to keep the mind active and engaged. Your aged care facility should offer a regular schedule of activities, plus excursions for residents who enjoy getting out and about.
There may also be visits from art therapists, music therapists and entertainers.
Aged care homes are designed for elderly Australians who require support to live well. They include facilities and services to suit evolving needs.
Many facilities now have dementia-specific wards or are equipped to adapt rapidly to decreasing mobility and independence. They ensure those who cannot get in and out of bed on their own are still involved in what’s going on at the facility and aren’t left alone for long periods of time.
Aged care staff know that the needs of their residents will change. They might even notice you or your loved one requires extra support before you do. They will track progress and help you make the right decisions when the time comes.
On site meal preparation
Meals in a residential aged care facility should be nutritious and diverse. If you’re researching your options, take a look at whether there is an on-site chef and what the menu includes.
Many seniors have difficulty with chewing and digestion. The kitchen should have a number of ways to accommodate this. Staff are likely to liaise with nutritionists to ensure residents follow a suitable meal plan.
Most aged care homes do allow you to choose some additional services, usually for a fee. Options like Foxtel, newspaper delivery, visiting hairdressers, or wine with dinner can be discussed. Take the time to chat with your home when you or your loved one is settling in. You may be able to make some adjustments to increase your comfort.
Another thing to enquire about is having visitors. Quality aged care homes have plenty of parking for visitors and make family members feel welcome. Some even offer guest accommodation or kitchenettes so families can get together.
There may also be themed afternoons when grandchildren and other family members are invited to come and have some fun
The modern aged care home
Modern aged care facilities are all about celebrating life. These days, residential aged care strives to make life pleasant and stimulating for every resident.
If you or someone you love is going into residential aged care, the most important thing to know is that there is a team of caring staff. Each person should be trained to do their job and genuinely care about the wellbeing of residents. A positive, friendly culture is very important. If staff feel happy and supported, this will flow on to the residents.
A final thing to ask about is language. Some aged care facilities are able to cater to those who do not have English as a first language. There will be staff who are multilingual and can help to make the facility feel more like home.
If you have been put off thinking about an aged care home, start by doing some research. Look at reviews and arrange a visit. If it is a quality organisation that is run well, you will soon see how well the residents are treated.