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Social Isolation in Seniors

Addressing the increasing levels of social isolation and loneliness is of paramount importance. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently deemed loneliness as a global health priority. The impacts of loneliness are often overlooked, but are crucial determinants of health across all age groups, particularly affecting seniors.

 

It is estimated that 25% of people aged 60 and older globally are considered socially isolated. The consequences of social isolation and loneliness on the longevity, physical and mental health, and overall quality of life for seniors are substantial. In fact, the effect of social isolation and loneliness on mortality has been likened to that of well-established risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. It can even increase the risk of dementia by up to 50%.

 

Recognising the significance of this challenge, various interventions have been developed to mitigate social isolation and loneliness among older individuals. At Scalabrini, these efforts range from face-to-face interactions to digital solutions ran by our wellbeing teams at each aged care village location.

 

Furthermore, creating accessible age-friendly communities plays a vital role in reducing social isolation and loneliness. Scalabrini’s Social Hub is a new seniors day program to combat loneliness and foster community and relationship. Our focus on quality care, tailored lifestyle programs, and engagement with the broader community for all our residents and clients aligns with the our mission to be a for-purpose organisation.

 

Outside of Scalabrini, The United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030) is an international initiative that aims to improve the quality of life of older people and aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More and more organisations along with Scalabrini are working towards becoming a more social community to improve the health of everyone in our society.

 

The four goals of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing are:

• Combat ageism

• Create age-friendly environments

• Provide integrated care

• Ensure access to long-term care when needed

 

At Scalabrini, the goal of our services is to provide individualised care that encourages choice, control and dignity means that rather than just living life, you or your loved one is living with purpose in a socially beneficial environment.

 

If you want to learn more about the wellbeing and social programs we run at Scalabrini, please contact our friendly staff today at 1800 722 522 or at enquiries@scalabrini.com.au

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What is Aging in Place?

As we get older, we may have to make certain accommodations to how we live our life based on our age. This may be things such as reducing how frequently we drive longer distances at night or transitioning from full time work to part time or retirement.

 

“Aging in place” is a phrase used to refer to someone’s ability to successfully live in their home and community as independently as possible as they get older. To do this, an individual’s environment needs to be adapted to suit their changing needs. The goal of aging in place is for an individual to remain in their home for as long as they possibly can rather than moving into residential aged care prematurely.

 

The key elements of aging in place include:

Modifying the home

To remain at home, home modifications and tools may be needed to keep the primary aspects of the house accessible to use. For example, walk in baths or stair lifts might need to be installed based on an older person’s mobility.

 

Receiving Support Services

Accessing support services such as home care to assist with certain activities such as home maintenance or meeting medical needs means that general independence is maintained within the older person’s capacity

 

Community Engagement

Staying connected with friends, family and the wider community is essential in maintaining a sense of belonging. Poor social and emotional health through isolation has great negative impacts on an individual’s physical health which makes its harder to age well.

 

While this may not prevent the need for someone to enter into residential aged care, aging in place means looking after your health as you age to increase quality of life.

 

With our Scalabrini Social Hub, we can help you or your loved one while aging in place. Please contact us at enquiries@scalabrini.com.au or call 1800 722 522 for more information.

 

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How much does Aged Care in Australia Cost?

Due to there being multiple fees of varying costs due to personal circumstances, it can be difficult and confusing to figure out just how much aged care costs and how the process works.

 

For permanent care, where an individual lives full time in an aged care facility, there are three different costs:

  1. Daily Care Fee
  2. Means Tested Care Fee
  3. Accommodation Payment Fee

 

Daily Care Fee

The Daily Care Fee is set by the Australian Government and is a flat fee that all aged care residents are expected to pay. The amount charged is based on 85% of the annual basic aged care pension. This fee covers basic costs for a resident’s living expenses such as food, cleaning and utilities

 

Means Tested Care Fee

The Means Tested Care Fee is determined by Services Australia. The initial defaulted cost varies across providers until the actual rate is advised. An Asset & Income Assessment (SA457) from Centrelink will determine whether someone is eligible to have any accommodation costs or the Means Tested Fee covered by Services Australia. If this rate changes based on the assessment, the balance will be fixed up and repayments will be made back to an individual if they have been overpaying or there will be more due if their means tested fee is determined too be higher than the default rate.

 

Accommodation Payment Fee

There are three ways to pay the Accommodation Payment Fee which covers the cost of a room. This includes:

  • Refundable Accommodation Payment (RAD)
  • Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)
  • Hybrid Accommodation Payment

 

RAD = Refundable Accommodation Payment. This is the cost of the room, which varies. Paying the full or partial amount will lower the cost of the daily fees, and upon discharge the full amount is refunded back to the estate of the resident. If the RAD cannot be paid (or only a portion), then a DAP will be paid instead.

 

DAP = Daily Accommodation Payment. This is the cost of the interest on the room price. The interest rate is aligned with the set interest rate by the Government. When accepted into an aged care village, you are locked into the current interest rate at the time of transitioning to permanent care. Upon discharge, no amount paid towards the DAP is refunded back to the estate of the resident.

 

The Hybrid Accommodation Payment is when someone pays part of the RAD and then pays the DAP interest on a smaller principle amount.

 

Club Scalabrini

At Scalabrini, we can also have a fee called Club Scalabrini. This care fee covers costs for the services Scalabrini provides outside of minimal care.

 

Therefore, if you’re looking to put your loved one into aged care at one of our Scalabrini villages, the costs include:

  • Daily Care Fee
  • Means Tested Care Fee
  • Daily Accommodation Payment OR Refundable Accommodation Payment
  • Club Scalabrini

 

To enquire further about the exact costs that these fees incur based on the unique situation of you or your loved one, please contact our informative staff at 1800 722 522 or enquiries@scalabrini.com.au

 

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Meet Scalabrini: Australia’s Best Not Profit Aged Care Provider

We understand that researching different aged care providers and care solutions can be overwhelming due to the reasons why care might be needed as well as the different offerings in the industry. Therefore, we wanted to formally introduce who Scalabrini is and what we offer.

About Scalabrini

Scalabrini Village Pty Ltd is a not-for-profit, for-purpose, aged care provider based in New South Wales, Australia. We have Italian and Catholic roots that comes from our founder the Father of Migrants, Saint John Baptist Scalabrini. Due to this, our mission as an organisation is to care for the vulnerable aging migrant population – however, we welcome all individuals of various cultures, backgrounds and faiths that need aged care services.

Scalabrini’s philosophy places the individual first, giving people choice, control, dignity and respect. With this comes a true sense of belonging, a feeling of being in control and a feeling of being home.

We provide residential aged care, as well as our Independent Living Units and the Scalabrini Social Hub.

Residential Aged Care

At Scalabrini, we provide residential aged care in multiple specialised areas including:

•  Dementia care

•  Palliative care

•  Complex & chronic care

We also have wellbeing teams that run activities for the residents and a pastoral care team made up of Religious Sisters.

Scalabrini has multiple residential aged care villages across NSW:

•  Scalabrini Allambie Heights

•  Scalabrini Austral

•  Scalabrini Bexley

•  Scalabrini Chipping Norton

•  Scalabrini Griffith

•  The Village by Scalabrini (Drummoyne)

Independent Living Units

The independent living units (ILUs) are retirement units for individuals looking to downsize their homes but aren’t currently needing residential aged care.

Our retirement communities include:

•  Austral Retirement Community

•  Cabrini Apartments (Bexley)

•  The Palazzo (Drummoyne)

•  The Roma Apartments (Allambie Heights)

Scalabrini Social Hub

The Scalabrini Social Hub is our new seniors day program where your elders loved one can come and partake in activities and services run by our staff so you or a career can take a break.

Our Social Hub centres currently take place at:

•  Drummoyne

•  Mt Pritchard

•  Griffith

To learn more about Scalabrini, you can visit the main page of our website here: https://www.scalabrini.com.au/

To enquire further about Scalabrini and our services, please contact our helpful staff at 1800 722 522 or email us at enquiries @scalabrini.com.au

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Understanding Senior Mental Health: Who can Diagnose Dementia?

In an aged care context, typically dementia is diagnosed by either a General Practitioner (GP) who may refer you onto additional specialists, or by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

The ACAT are apart of My Aged Care who can complete assessments on request and consists of:

•  Registered nurses (RNs)

•  Occupational therapists (OTs)

•  Physiotherapists

•  Speech pathologists

•  Social workers

A dementia assessment may include an extensive psychological and physical health assessment to ensure that a dementia diagnosis is accurate rather than symptoms being caused by other issues.

When being diagnosed by a GP, Dementia Australia outlines some of the information that may be collected by your doctor and/or their referred specialist(s) including:

•  Detailed medical history of the individual with dementia symptoms

•  A conversation with a close loved one to determine when the symptoms first occurred

•  A thorough physical and neurological examination

•  Other specialised tests such as a chest x-ray, ECG, CT scan or MRI

•  A dementia screen which are blood/urine tests

•  Psychiatric assessment to see if something else is mimicking dementia

While it may seem overwhelming or unnecessary, it is crucial to diagnose dementia early when possible to ensure that the right treatment and care is provided.

If you’re concerned that yourself or a loved one may be displaying dementia symptoms, you can contact My Aged Care at 1800 200 422 to set up an ACAT assessment

Chronic & Comlex Care

What does Chronic and Complex Care mean?

Chronic and complex care is an umbrella term that we use at Scalabrini to account for a range of conditions that need a high level of care. Chronic and complex care is often interrelated, with chronic conditions often also being complex conditions. However, they are not always connected and can indeed be individual. This care may include a combination of physical, cognitive, or behavioural health conditions that require ongoing management and support.

Chronic indicates that a condition impacts an individual for either an extensive or constant time period. Unlike acute conditions, chronic conditions may last for years or over the course of someone’s life time.

Complex conditions are when the treatment needed is intricate. This may include needing 24/7 care, a multitude of medications or there are conflicting treatment options due to multiple conditions or needs interacting with each other.

Living with a chronic and/or complex conditions impacts an individuals physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. While it does affect routine, in many cases health outcomes can be improved or maintained when well managed.

At Scalabrini, we are able to accommodate for chronic and complex conditions by providing quality care by our highly trained medical staff. Your care plan is personally crafted to you or your loved ones needs and is conducted by a case by case basis on assessment. We also provide additional services such as physiotherapy to aid in the care coordination for an individual. Our goal as an aged care provider is to support all our residents to live with maximum dignity and independence no matter their condition.

To talk to our team about a chronic and complex care assessment, please email them at enquiries@scalabrini.com.au or call 1800 722 522 today.

 

 

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Scalabrini Austral and Annabelle Child Care Centre:
Building Intergenerational Community Relationships

It really is beautiful to see intergenerational relationships blossom between the old and the young.

Our Scalabrini Austral village has a special relationship with the local pre-school, Annabelle Child Care Centre. The preschool has been visiting our village for the past few years to build relationships between the children and our elderly residents.

It always puts a big smile on everyones faces to see the happiness that the preschoolers bring to our village and each elderly person they interact with. This partnership between Scalabrini Austral and Annabelle Child Care Centre survived the COVID-19 pandemic where we were able to use technology to keep meeting together. Therefore, its been a joy for both the children and the residents to be able to come together in person again.

The children come visit residents every week and rotate between the different village casas to make sure they can say hi and spend time with everyone equally. They spend a good part of the day at our village and interact with residents through a variety of activities ranging from arts and crafts to physical play activities to morning tea. Our residents love chatting to the children and teaching them new things.

We were even able to celebrate Grandparents Day together, where each resident had an adopted grandchild from the preschool who brought them beautiful greeting cards that they made themselves.

We are loving having the children and staff from Annabelle Child Care Centre visit our residents as part of their schedule. We are looking forward to continuously partnering with them in building deeper community and intergenerational relationships between the young and old.

 

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Addressing Negative Perceptions of the Aged Care Industry’s Reputation

In the past, the Australian aged care industry didn’t always have a positive reputation.

The Australian Government has updated their legislation over the years to improve the quality of practices within the industry. This is based on the main aged care framework ‘The Aged Care Act 1997’ which defines government-funded aged care. These legislations set out a comprehensive rule book for the operation of aged care services in Australia and is designed to ensure that older people receive high-quality care and support that meets their individual needs.

Aged care has had a bad reputation in some places due to a range of factors. However, Scalabrini is determined to do aged care differently. Below are some reasons why aged care has not always had a stellar reputation.

1.Reports of abuse and neglect: 

Unfortunately, there have been multiple reports of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of older people in some aged care facilities nationwide. Due to the intimate nature of caring for another person and the emotional connect we have to the elderly within our society, these reports have contributed to a general negative perception of the whole industry.

To combat this, Scalabrini has multiple processes and rules in place to prevent such incidences from occurring and addressing any concerned raised by staff or family members to keep our residents safe and well cared for.

2.Inadequate funding: 

The aged care industry has been chronically underfunded in Australia. A lack of funds can lead to inadequate staffing levels, lower-quality facilities and poorer care outcomes for residents to save money.

To combat this, Scalabrini was established as a non-for-profit organisation. Therefore, the money made from charging for our aged care services goes straight back into caring for our residences, maintaining a high quality level at our villages and within our programs and paying our staff a good wage based on their role.

3.Lack of regulation: 

Some critics argue that the aged care industry has been poorly regulated in the past, allowing some providers to prioritise profits over the welfare of residents.

To combat this, Scalabrini works closely with Governing bodies, union groups and resident advocates to ensure that the care provided goes above and beyond the bare minimum of the industry and that all requirements are met

4.Stigma and ageism: 

There is often a stigma attached to aging, which can lead to ageist attitudes and discrimination. This can be reflected in the way aged care is perceived and discussed in the media and society.

To combat this, Scalabrini has a designated Wellbeing team that does social and cultural activities and events with the residents to celebrate their individual identity and create community where they feel hear and appreciated. We also have Religious Sisters at each Scalabrini village who provide pastoral care and emotional/spiritual support to those in need.

5.Challenging care needs: 

Providing care to older people with complex and challenging care needs can be a difficult and demanding job. Some providers may struggle to provide adequate care in such situations, leading to negative outcomes for residents.

To combat this, Scalabrini employs a variety of health care professionals to ensure all resident needs can be met. Each resident also has their own unique care plan that outlines their medical requirements for staff to follow based on decisions made by the resident, their loved ones, their party medical staff like a general practitioner and Scalabrini. Scalabrini also specialises dementia care, palliative care and complex/chronic care. Therefore, our villages and staff are confidently able to assess and support every person in our care.

With new reforms, not only the quality but the perception of the aged care industry is getter better each and every day. We acknowledge that its a difficult season for residents and their loved ones but with kindness, skill and transparency, aged care is there to care for those who need it.

Looking for an aged care provider that you can trust? Have a chat to our team to see if we’re the right fit for you or your loved one. We can be reached during standard business hours at 1800 722 522 or you can send us an email at enquiries@scalabrini.com.au.

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Seniors & Grief: Adjusting to Life Without a Loved One

Grief is a complex emotional response to loss that can manifest physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Grief and loss are a universal human experience, but for seniors, navigating the loss of a loved one can present unique challenges. As we age, our relationships often take on even deeper significance, making the loss of a partner, friend, or family member especially profound.

While a common experience, grief doesn’t have a ‘right’ expression and can manifest in various ways, including:

• sadness

• anger

• fatigue

• denial

• changes in appetite

• changes sleep patterns

• loneliness

• isolation

• depression

It’s crucial to acknowledge the pain being felt and deal with it in order to adjust to the situation in a healthy manner.

Coping strategies for seniors in this season can include:

• Creative self expression (writing, art, music etc.)

• Maintaining routine

• Attending support groups

• Seeking counselling services

• Trying new hobbies or enjoying old ones

Life at Scalabrini means that residents experiencing grief and loss are looked after by our Wellbeing team that runs a range of activities in the villages, as well as our pastoral care team made up of Religious Sisters.

Adjusting to life without a loved one is hard, but possible with a good support system in place. Coping with grief, especially in our senior years, can be a transformative journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and support from others.

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Scalabrini’s Gold Soul Companionship Program

Our Gold Soul Companionship Program at Scalabrini is the first of its kind in Australia and is an intergenerational student volunteer program that we’ve been running since 2018 at our aged care village in Bexley.

 

The Gold Soul Companionship program represents:

•  Gold: generosity, wisdom, knowledge → value

•  Soul: thoughts, feelings and actions → spirit

•  Companionship: enjoying each others company → outcome

 

Through the program, a small group of Allied Health students from The University of Sydney are offered free accommodation on-site at Scalabrini Bexley in exchange for 30 hours of volunteer work per month with our residents.

 

The goal of these volunteer hours is to create opportunities for intergenerational bonding and friendship. This means that while students are able to spend time with residents and enrich their lives socially, students also gain further insights into residential aged care within the context of their university studies. A focus on relationship based care improves the quality of life for the residents as well as adding value to students by reducing any negative preconceptions around the elderly and aged care.

 

Some of the Gold Soul Companionship program volunteering activities look like:

•  Sharing meals with residents

•  Playing cards and board games

•  Attending Mass with residents

•  Making customised music playlists

•  Putting on events eg. high teas

•  Spending quality time with our residents

•  Organising and facilitating group activities

•  Participating in light exercise

 

Due to its unstructured nature and the friendships formed, students often spend more than the required 30 hours a month of volunteer time. Students find hidden joy and gain as much from the residents as they give towards them.

 

A perfect example of this is Katie’s story. Katie is a 23 year old international student who was recently interviewed about her meaningful experiences while living at Bexley. You can read more about her participation in the Gold Soul program here: https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/at-23-katie-finds-life-in-a-nursing-home-is-full-of-joy/

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Elderly Stereotypes

Addressing common misconceptions and stereotypes about the elderly population and aged care.

The elderly, especially those in aged care, have common misconceptions and stereotypes that can hang over their head and negatively impact their mental health and wellbeing. Addressing what these are, and our own unconscious biases, can help to ensure we’re treating those around us in an appropriate and respectable way rather than making harmful and false assumptions.

  1. Myth: All elderly people are weak and fully dependent on others 
  • The truth is that while some older people may need assistance with certain tasks, many others lead active and independent lives.
  1. Myth: All elderly people experience severe cognitive decline
  • The truth is that while the older you are, your risk towards developing a cognitive disease like dementia increases, that doesn’t mean that it’s a guarantee. Cognitive decline is not an inevitable part of aging and a lot of elderly people maintain their cognitive functioning
  1. Myth: All elderly people have no purpose as they no longer actively contribute to society 
  • The truth is that even after someone stops actively contributing to society, the legacy of their actions continues through those they impacted. Even then, a lot of people still work part time or volunteer in their communities as they age. Purpose for life isn’t fully based on your work. At Scalabrini, we enable residents to still live purpose-filled lives as they continue to age through other activities and means.
  1. Myth: All elderly people are resistant to change 
  • The truth is that change can be difficult for everyone no matter how old you are. Many older people love learning new things and are encouraged by changes in technology. However, we’re all allowed to have preferred processes and learn at our own pace when exposed to something unfamiliar
  1. Myth: All elderly people in aged care are there as a last resort
  • The truth is that while this may be the case for some people, the aged care industry is about more than just providing care for those who are unable to care for themselves. Aged care does’t have to be a negative or isolating experience either. Aged care can create more dignity for an individual due to having the appropriate resources and support available to them. Not only this, but it fosters community and systems are put in place to increase the holistic health of residents.

Addressing the misconceptions and stereotypes around the elderly, especially in an aged care context, is important to promote positive attitudes towards aging and older people. Scalabrini’s goal as an aged care provider is to support the health, wellbeing and dignity of older individuals.

 

 

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Understanding Ageism: How does Ageism Impact the Elderly?

Ageism can be defined as discrimination and stereotyping based on an individual’s age. While younger people can face ageism, the term is typically refer to the prejudice experienced by the elderly purely based on how old they are.

Ageism can make many forms which can include but is not limited to:

•  Negative attitudes towards aging and older people

•  Discriminatory policies and practices, especially in the work place

•  Overlooking and undervaluing valid social contributions of older people

•  Negative assumptions and beliefs about the knowledge and skills of an elderly person

•  Stereotypes that include the elderly being dependent, frail and/or generally incapable of basics tasks

Due to these situations and ideas, ageism can have a significantly negative impact on an individual’s mental, physical and cognitive health.

Mental Health: Ageism can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and general devaluation which in turn can contribute to or worsen the development of anxiety and depression. This in conjunction with feelings of loneliness and isolation leaves the elderly without a support network and increases the risk of developing suicidal ideation.

Physical Health: Ageism can create physical symptoms for chronic stress which manifest into other health conditions eg. Diabetes. Ageism may also discourage the elderly from physical exercise and healthy eating due to feeling unsupported. When not treated with respect and dignity, ageism can also impact an individual’s willingness to seek medical treatment when needed which also impacts their physical health.

Cognitive Health: Ageism impacts cognitive health by creating self-doubt in an individual’s abilities due to their age, even if they are entirely capable of a task due to loss of confidence. A decline in cognitive health and function can impact memory and increase the risk of developing cognitive diseases like dementia.

Therefore, it is important to address ageism when it presents itself and instead promote more positive attitudes towards aging.