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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.

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Introducing: Scalabrini Social Hub

As an aged care provider, Scalabrini not only has six amazing aged care villages, but is now providing a day program for your loved one to attend. These Social Hub Centres off­er full days of fun activities, both within our centre facilities and out and about.

Currently, the Scalabrini Social Hub is running in three locations over NSW:

•  Drummoyne

•  Mt Pritchard

•  Griffith

This service provides an opportunity for both your loved one to enjoy themselves while participating in our program as well as then letting their careers take a break.

Our Social Hub programs offer uniquely tailored and engaging activities based on the needs of the individual, specifically catering towards dementia care. Some of the activities include but are not limited to:

•  Cooking classes

•  Excursions

•  Daily Newspapers and library

•  Dancing

•  Games and puzzles

•  Exercise

•  DIY classes

•  Friendly interest groups

During the day, freshly cooked meals are provided and all dietary needs can be catered. We also provide transport to and from the centre as required within the designated pick-up area and at an additional cost if this is needed.

There are also additional services for a small extra fee including:

•  Massages

•  Manicures

•  Hairdressing

•  Physiotherapy

•  Podiatry

All the staff participating in the Social Hub Day Program have fully educated and qualified to provide the best care possible in a kind and professional manner. We strongly encouraged that you or a career take a tour of one of our Social Hubs to ensure that our services truely meet your needs.

General practitioners or other healthcare workers can provide a referral for day respite, however it’s not necessary as you can apply directly with us. For diet preferences, allergies, and other requirements, please note that an application form is essential prior to joining.

Contact us today to register your interest in the program and our staff can answer all Social Hub related questions.

Email: socialhub@scalabrini.com.au

•  Drummoyne: (02) 8739 7500

•  Griffith: (02) 6962 7700

•  Mt. Pritchard: (02) 8729 2800

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Who Works in Aged Care?

Aged care is a large industry that contains multiple different types of workers and health professionals to ensure that quality care and support is provided to residents. Some of these key roles include:

Village Manager (VM): The VMs are the leadership team at each village who are responsible for overseeing all care areas. They ensure Scalabrini maintains and facilities a nurturing and empowering environment where residents receive person-centred care that proves them with control, purpose and dignity. VMs also look after the village staff members and volunteers to help them to grow and excel in their respective areas as well as partnering with the local community in a mutually beneficial manner.

Administration Team: Pro-actively supports the Village Manager in ensuring that processes, systems, procedures, and resources are organised and coordinated to provide Scalabrini quality person-centred care in the villages as well as prompt and professional customer service for residents, families, colleagues, volunteers and visitors.

Registered Nurses (RNs): RNs are qualified nurses who are employed to provide professional clinical care to aged care residents. Their role includes assessing resident health needs, developing care plans, administering medication, dressing wounds and other medical requirements as well as managing the care team.

Care Team: Includes Carers and Assistants In Nursing (AINs) who are apart of a collaborative care team that works with residents and their loved ones to create meaning and purpose for individuals and the broader village community. They deliver person-centred care to residents that empowers them to live their life as independently and in control as possible. The care team develops genuine bonds with residents as their primary providers of their care and support.

Wellbeing Team: Our wellbeing team are in charge of creating the tone and culture of each village through activities and events that improve the social lives of our residents. Scalabrini celebrates different culturally significant days as well as holidays and awareness events along side general daily lifestyle and recreational wellbeing activities to affirm each resident’s identity and create a strong sense of community and belonging for all.

Pastoral Care Team: Scalabrini’s pastoral care team consists of Religious Sisters who provide spiritual and emotional support for the holistic care of the residents, families and members of staff across all of Scalabrini’s villages. The Sisters provide the freedom to practice religion for residents and cares for all those apart of the Scalabrini community experiencing complex emotions like grief or are in a crisis. This ensures that not just physical but mental, spiritual and emotional needs of others are also met.

Chef & Catering Team: Includes Executive Chef, Cooks, Catering assistants and Baristas who are committed to high quality food options for residents and visitors at each village in a safe and hygienic manner. Many catering functions are performed within this dynamic hospitality team to ensure each resident has their dietary requirements met as part of Scalabrini’s person-centred care.

Overall, aged care is a collaborative effort, with a range of health professionals and support workers providing care and support to the elderly. At Scalabrini, we place a significant focus on holistic health and person-centred care which drives the outcomes for each support team and staff role.

Aged Care How Does it Work_

How does aged care work in Australia

In Australia, there is a growing demand for aged care services. But, how does the process actually work?

Residential aged care includes accommodation as well as personal and medical care 24/7. In general, the aged care industry utilises different staff and health professionals who come together in order to provide the best care for an elderly individual who may also have additional high care needs such as dementia.

While we know most people would prefer to stay in their own home as long as they can, Scalabrini is available for support when this is no longer possible.

There are a few steps that need to be covered before we’re able to accept your loved one as one of our aged care residents:

• Assessment:

Individuals can apply through MyAgedCare for the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to approve someone based on the level of care and support they require. This is called the AN-ACC (Aged Care Funding Instrument) assessment where permanent aged care residents receive funding based on the determined level of care needed.

• Choosing a Provider:

It’s important after an assessment to research different aged care providers and their offerings to see if they suit your needs. If you have any questions about Scalabrini as a provider, please contact us at 1800 722 522 or enquiries@scalabrini.com.au

• Care Plan:

In conjunction with aged care and medical staff, the resident and their loved ones, a care plan is formed which outlines the medical needs and timings for an individual resident to ensure they get the support they need.

• Funding:

The price for residential aged care varies. There is a basic daily fee which is the same for all residents and is means tested by the Government. At Scalabrini, you can choose if you’d like to submit to a Combined Assets and Income Assessment. This assessment will help the Government determine what funding you maybe be eligible to receive based on your unique circumstances. This comprises a list of your assets and income which is assessed by the Department of Human Services. Depending upon your personal situation you may be classified as a ‘Fully Supported Resident’ or a ‘Partially Supported Resident’ and receive some financial assistance from the Government. It can take up to 6 weeks to receive the results of the assessment so you’re encouraged to complete this in advance before applying for care.

However, if you do not submit to the Combined Assets and Income Assessment, you’ll be charged the maximum price for the means tested care fee and accomodation price once your AN-ACC (Aged Care Funding Instrument) assessment has been received by the Department of Social Services. Then, there can also be additional costs for extra services that an aged care facility may provide such as in-house physiotherapy or podiatry.

For more information of the costs for residents at Scalabrini, please contact our staff who can answer your questions.

• Application:

The next step is to apply and move into the aged care facility of your choice.

If you have any questions or need some guidance through this journey, please contact our helpful staff today at 1800 722 522 or enquiries@scalabrini.com.au