New Aussie dementia facility giving residents new lease on life

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New Aussie dementia facility giving residents new lease on life

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A newly established dementia facility is changing the lives of those suffering with the terrible condition and making them feel more at home.
Described as a micro town, the NewDirection Care facility seems like any ordinary community except for the fact, 60 per cent of its residents are living with dementia.


Based in Bellmere, Queensland, about 45 minutes north of Brisbane, NewDirection Care is a far cry from the usual aged care facilities, complete with a hair salon, cafe, corner store, wellness spa and cinema.

Paul Heckler is one of many residents, aged between 47 and 101 currently enjoying the facilities after being diagnosed with dementia about five years ago.

Speaking to Channel Nine’s A Current Affair, Paul’s wife Astrid explained he was just 52-years-old when his life changed forever.

“Paul hadn’t been working for some time and was complaining of trouble seeing and that kind of thing,” she told the program.

Unfortunately, the father-of-two was diagnosed with younger onset dementia and was soon no longer capable of living his normal life.

Family friends Angie and Stephen Nichol experienced a similar situation when Stephen was diagnosed with dementia after he was involved in a cycling accident.

Not only did Stephen suffer physical injuries but mentally he began to change as well.

Instead of being thrust into a normal care facility the two men are now enjoying life in the special facility along with many other residents suffering from dementia.

Based on a general Australian lifestyle, NewDirection Care Chief Executive Officer Natasha Chadwick said the facility provides residents with the freedom and independence they desire.

“All of our residents here live based on their lifestyle so we developed a survey and that identified six different lifestyles for people here in Australia and all of our homes have been designed around those lifestyles,” she told A Current Affair.

It’s the perfect fit for both Paul and Stephen who are happily living at the facility with full time care.

“He’s happy, I’m happy. It’s like we are still at home,” Angie told the Channel Nine program.

Astrid echoed her views claiming Paul is loving living in a share house.

“It’s kind of got that feel about it,” she said, “Cause you’ve all got to pitch in together… and make those choices together as a household.”

Seeing the story online, many other Aussies praised the company for creating a facility of its kind.

“What a Fantastic Facility. It makes me so happy to see places like this being built. We just need more so all dementia suffers can have the option to attend and the spaces be available,” one person wrote on Facebook.

While another added: “Australia definitely needs more of these types of facilities. Patient focused and caring nurses who are dementia/ mental health qualified.

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