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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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5 considerations when choosing an aged care facility

Choosing a new home is always a big decision. After all, it becomes your new community and where you spend the majority of your time! So, it’s important to choose wisely. This is especially true when it comes to finding a new home for an ageing family member.

If your loved one is no longer able to look after themselves and family care is not a viable option, an aged care home is a wise option. But, not all aged care facilities are created equal! You want to make sure your family member is moving somewhere where they will feel fulfilled, comfortable and at home.

So, how do you make sure you’re picking the right aged care facility for your elderly relative? Here are 5 important considerations to help you find the perfect new home.

1. What are the facilities like? 

Pay attention to your first impression when you visit the residential home. Do the gardens look well manicured and looked after? Do the rooms look clean, tidy and comfortable? These can give you important insights into the quality of care provided there. 

2. What activities are on offer?

Having a full and vibrant life is vital for senior’s wellbeing and happiness. So, it’s important to make sure that the residential home has plenty of activities to keep them mentally, physically and socially engaged.

Keeping busy is also key for easing the transition from their old home to their new one.

Yoga, dancing, Tai Chi and art are just some of the activities we offer at Scalabrini. We also arrange external outings when it is safe to do so.

3. What are the staff like?

The people at your loved one’s aged care home will become their new (extended) family. This includes not only the other residents, but the staff! These are the people your relative will turn to for daily support and assistance. So, it’s important that they feel comfortable, respected and trusting.

The aged care profession tends to attract caring and kind-hearted people in general. But, how an organisation is managed can affect your loved one’s experience, and this stems down from the top. At Scalabrini, we are proud to say that staff are enabled to take their time in getting to know each resident’s individual needs. They are given the flexibility to notice the little things that matter and the space to listen and connect with the resident more deeply. This enables our staff to provide the best possible experience for our residents.

4. What are their core values — and do they practice them?

This is one consideration that will be less immediately obvious. But, it can be a huge deciding factor in the best location for your family member. All aged care facilities have different values and priorities. Often, these will be listed on their website: it might include things like respect, care or dignity. While this is helpful, it’s also important to consider whether they show evidence of practicing what they preach.

For example, our philosophy at Scalabrini is Sono Io, Italian for This is me. It’s about supporting our residents to live a life full of dignity, by recognising each person for who they truly are. However, we understand that it’s not enough to just talk about it, which is why we have three clear strategies in place to practice this daily. These are providing a strong sense of home, seeing and valuing the person, and giving our staff the space to make a difference.

5. Will they be able to cater for their health needs?

Your loved one is a unique person with their own individual needs. In order to make their life comfortable and pleasant, it’s important that these needs are met. This includes not only current needs, but future health considerations, too. 

At Scalabrini, we have registered nursing staff on site 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We also provide dementia care, palliative care, end of life planning and chronic and complex pain care.

Deciding on an aged care home for your loved one is a choice that should be made with great consideration, and ideally in collaboration with them. But, by asking these 5 questions, you can make the decision a little easier. 

Career benefits of volunteering

1: 6 ways volunteering in aged care can help your career

Volunteering in aged care is one of the best ways to give back to the community. Whether it’s spending quality time, helping them engage their favourite hobbies or just lending a listening ear, your presence truly enriches the lives of our residents. 

But, what may surprise many people about volunteering is just how mutually beneficial it is. Beyond the benefits like improving your health and mental wellbeing, being a volunteer can actually take you far in your career. Not only does it help you develop key skills, but it’s also looked upon favourably by prospective employers.

Read on to learn about 6 ways being an aged care volunteer can give you a career boost.

1. You can make new connections 

Any time you broaden your horizon and get out of your comfort zone, it naturally expands your network. Spending time volunteering in aged care is no exception! When you volunteer, you meet not only the residents but also the staff, family members of residents and other volunteers. 

Of course, it’s important to be equally kind to everyone you meet, without wanting to get anything out of the interaction. But, you also never know who you’re going to run into. Maybe that resident’s daughter is the CEO of your dream organisation and raves about the lovely volunteer they’ve been spending time with. Or, perhaps you meet another volunteer who is an HR recruiter looking for someone with exactly your skills? 

You never know what opportunities can arise just from being a good person, in the right place at the right time.

2. It can be a great resume bridge

Are you currently between jobs or perhaps you’re in the process of changing careers? Volunteering can be an excellent way to bridge the gap between roles. 

Not only is it an extremely rewarding way to spend some of your newfound free time, but it can actually help you when you start interviewing for roles.  Employers tend to look more favourably upon candidates who undertook volunteer work during times of unemployment.

It shows that you’re driven, self, motivated and proactive, which are all incredibly valuable skills in an employee. Plus, let’s face it — when a hirer asks “So, what have you been doing for the last six months”, volunteering at a retirement home is a far more compelling response than “watching TV in my PJs!”

3. It speaks volumes about your character

It takes a special kind of person to volunteer in aged care. To even have that initial interest in spending your free time this way, you must be altruistic, selfless and generous. But, there are also other traits you need to be a successful volunteer, such as being patient and having strong communication skills.

Many employers are becoming more aware of the importance of culture fit and ‘soft’ skills when hiring a new employee. However, this can be a tough thing to prove, beyond just saying “I’m good with people.” Volunteering can give you a tangible example of your character and give you an edge over the competition. 

4. It builds relevant career experience

It can be tough when you’re first starting out in your career or changing industries, and every job ad seems to call for an ‘entry-level professional with 10 years of experience’ “How am I expected to get that experience if nobody will give me a chance!” you may be wondering. 

Well, volunteering is the perfect way to build your resume in the meantime, with SEEK data showing that 95% of employers consider this to be a credible type of experience. This is particularly helpful if you’re seeking a role in a people-facing industry, like hospitality, healthcare or human resources. But the experience and skills you’ll develop in working in aged care really translate across any role in any industry.

5. It develops and strengths key skills

When you volunteer in aged care, you develop real-world skills that will serve you well, no matter what career path you go down. These include listening skills, problem-solving, creativity and communication. However, at Scalabrini, we also encourage our volunteers to use and build on their own unique skills. Whether you speak a second language, love to dance or a are personal trainer who can lead an exercise session with our residents, there’s always a way you can put your passions to good use.

6. It makes you a more well-rounded person

It’s all well and good to be the most skilled candidate in the room. But, at the end of the day, we spend roughly one-third of our lives in the workplace. So, people naturally want to spend time with others who are kind and interesting!

By getting you out of your comfort zone and exposing you to new experiences and people, volunteering in aged care helps make you a more multi-dimensional person. It also exposes you to different views and perspectives, so that you can be more open-minded and empathetic to others. Plus, you’ll likely have many great stories about the amazing residents you’ll meet, that you can share in the breakroom or at work drinks!

At the end of the day, the best reason to volunteer in aged care is that you genuinely care about helping others. But — you never know, you may find it ends up helping you even more than it helps our residents, especially when it comes to your professional development.

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Moving to an aged care village: Helping seniors adjust to a new normal

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that change can be hard to adjust to — no matter what life stage we’re in. When your world becomes a little smaller and your surroundings and routine change, it can be hard to come to terms with at first. But, over time, you start to adjust to your ‘new normal’ and enjoy many aspects of it.

This can be especially true of seniors who are transitioning into living in an aged care facility. Whether it’s reduced mobility or health issues, there are many reasons for seniors to move from their home. While with the right residential village, this can be a positive change, it can understandably be met with some initial resistance. Seniors may feel displaced, or like they are losing some of their control or independence.

But with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some tips to help a loved one settle happily and comfortably into this vibrant chapter of their life.

Communicate with them

Be sure to include them in your conversations about their living scenario from the get-go. Ask them what it is that’s important to them. Perhaps they would like to live somewhere with lots of social activities, or somewhere with a nice garden, lovely interiors or great food.

Then, you can involve them in your research process as you narrow down your options, whether that’s gathering brochures or sitting down for a Google session together. Then, when you go to tour some aged care villages, be sure to consult them on their opinion, what they liked and disliked about them. The more you involve them in the process, the smoother the transition will be.

Highlight the positives

There are so many wonderful things about aged care living that you just don’t get in everyday life! With so many activities on offer and other people around, many seniors find they have a much more thriving social life than they did previously. 

Plus, they no longer have to worry about menial things like cooking, cleaning and doing the washing. They get to enjoy their life, which is likely what they’ve worked so hard for all these years!

Bring home with them

Moving out of their previous home can be tough for older people, especially if they have lived there for decades. They may feel very attached to their home and the memories made there. But, just because they’re moving, doesn’t mean they can’t bring a piece of home with them. 

Assist your loved one in getting together some sentimental items that they can bring with them. This might include a favourite pillow, some photo frames, or even some old books that smell like their previous home. By having these mementoes at the ready, your loved one can make their new home feel a little more like their old home. 

Emphasise their individuality

It’s of utmost importance that your relative feels that they have autonomy over their own life. So much so that our philosophy at Scalabrini is Sono Io (Italian for ‘This is me’), which is all about recognising and respecting each resident for who they truly are. 

Be sure to communicate to your loved one that just because they are moving, doesn’t mean they’ll lose their individualism.  

In fact, quite the opposite! By asking the right questions and paying attention, our staff spend time getting to know each resident — their likes and dislikes, their history, their story, their personality, their interests and their preferences. So, your loved one will feel cherished and respected.

Encourage them to get involved

The more involved your loved one gets in everyday life at their retirement village, the more enjoyable it’s going to be for them. So, encourage them to take advantage of all that is on offer! Whether it’s striking up a chat at the dinner table, getting out for some gardening or challenging a new friend to a game of cards, there are so many great opportunities for socialising. Be sure to ask with curiosity about the lovely new people they’re meeting, as this will further encourage them to pursue friendships. 

Moving into an aged care village doesn’t have to be a sad or scary time for your relative. With your encouragement and support, they can embrace and thrive in their new surroundings.