Young Onset Dementia Care
Our microtown™ looks like any other suburban community complete with a cinema, café, shop, beauty salon and individual houses on lovely wide streets. Here, residents are free to pursue lives that are as fulfilling and as independent as their condition allows. This revolutionary model of care helps residents to remain active and gives them a sense of purpose, things that are sorely missing in a traditional residential care environment. Our focus is on the individual and what they want and not their diagnosis
A Homely Environment
The Bellmere community encompasses 17 unique and individually styled seven-bedroom homes with a living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry, front and back gardens and ensuite bedrooms. Unlike a traditional facility for people with dementia, with its sterile corridors lined with rows of bedrooms and large central areas, Bellmere's homes are designed to complement a resident's lifestyle similar to what they have been used to throughout their lives. Partners can visit anytime and even stay for sleepovers. Many traditional care homes in Australia often have strictly controlled visiting hours and couples are kept apart against their wishes, however in Bellmere we help couples to live together as all residents integrate and we don’t have secure or locked dementia units.
Each home has a personalised dining room where residents eat dinner family-style with their fellow residents and the House Companion™. This family mealtime atmosphere is absent from traditional nursing home care environments where people sit in vast dining halls reminiscent of Dickensian boarding schools. They are waited on by serving staff who try to get them in and out as quickly as possible while registered nurses dispense medication. At Bellmere meals are relaxed affairs and family members are welcome to join residents at the table as dining together is a pleasant, joyful occasion.
People with dementia, including younger onset dementia often feel happier if they keep active and involved and remain independent for as long as possible. Our Bellmere residents have full freedom of movement around the two-hectare community. There are no restricted or out of bounds areas so they can stroll into the retail precinct to shop, catch up with friends in the cafe, treat themselves to a beauty treatment, work up a sweat in the wellness centre's gym or even catch a movie in the Art Deco cinema.
Unlike a traditional dementia care environment, there are no fixed schedules. Residents are free to follow their own daily routines and can get up, go to bed and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when they want. To ensure their safety a mobile monitoring system that encompasses telephony, movement sensors and CCTV is employed throughout the community. We don't lock residents in secure units and neither are they segregated according to their diagnosis. They can roam and explore as much as they wish throughout the microtown™.
People living with dementia and the associated memory problems and memory loss need to be active and do things they enjoy. Often in care environments residents are bored and isolated as they're restricted to participating in a limited choice of activities. Our residents can pursue their own hobbies and get involved with daily chores such as gardening, cooking, cleaning, laundry and feeding the chickens in the coop.
Residents can also enjoy the companionship, unconditional love and fun of our other resident pets. Researchers have long known that animals reduce the effects of dementia such as anxiety and agitation which is why we don't exclude them. Typically, traditional care homes only admit animals for pet therapy sessions but we recognise the benefits of our pets being a permanent presence in the community.