As someone once said, ‘change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.’
Change in the aged care industry is ongoing, and with the Royal Commission recently sanctioned, more change is highly likely over the next few years.
If you’ve had a loved one move into an aged care facility of late, have you noticed the change?
Yes, the old-style motel-type accommodation has long gone, and been replaced with 5-star hotel accommodation, moving northwards, instead of horizontally.
Perhaps there is a ‘help yourself 24/7 café’ in the foyer? Have you noticed the rooms are possibly larger, and may even have a personal safe? Then there’s a large flat screen TV, connection to Foxtel, WIFI, plus an in-room fridge.
To cater for resident safety, often there are pressure matts at the bedside, sensor lights to monitor resident movement, security call alarms, along with the usual screening on doors, windows and patios.
Creature comforts within the communal lounges and surrounds might include libraries, a movie theatre, private dinning room, or roof top lounges that would not be out of place in a 5-star hotel. Many now have a chapel catering for multi-religious beliefs, or a hair dresser, day spa, centre pets like birds, cats or even dogs, as well as interactive screens projecting images of the world that are so real you are compelled to touch (I did!)
Paro Therapy is becoming popular in some facilities, especially with dementia residents, where life-like robotic babies, and animals like seals and puppies, are very popular.
Outside, and the gardens are manicured, and the fountains and walkways help add to the upmarket appeal, yet homely atmosphere. The inclusion of a Men’s Shed, has also proven to be a real winner, as have veggie plots.
Personally, I have spent significant time at aged care facilities with my own loved ones, and additionally, as a professional in this field - I can honestly say, I have appreciated the diverse new-age services and offerings.
Obviously, these modern inclusions have many benefits for the capable residents … but on the flipside, other residents may not have the ability or share the same enthusiasm.
So, if it doesn’t affect everyone equally, why have these new features … surely they add to the overall cost of the care?
Aside from benefiting residents able and wanting to make the most of every aspect of their new home, another train of thought, revolves around making the home environment appealing to the external families - presenting the premises in a chic yet warm and welcoming way, where everyone can equally feel comfortable. The intent here is to help encourage loved ones to return even more frequently, adding joy and comfort primarily, to the resident.
So, next time you question the fees for these extra services - or whatever the home might call them - consider the positive and holistic impact they may have on your loved one/s in their day-to-day activities, or even how your loved one/s will benefit from you being accommodated to visit more frequently. Care, comfort and happiness is simply priceless – my thoughts at least!