Why choose Windsor Aged Care Services?
In operation for 20 years and taken under Alzheimer’s Queensland’s wing almost five years ago, Windsor Aged Care Services is a mixed-gender, dementia-specific, secure facility, and home to 61 residents. Those with a diagnosed cognitive deficit are welcomed at Windsor – it’s a place to come when it’s no longer sustainable for a person with a diagnosis of dementia to live at home as they may need assistance with daily activities – it’s also a place for those who need safety precautions in place if they tend to wander.
We spoke to Director of Care at Windsor, Fiona Thomas and the home’s Clinical Nurse, Andrea Jowett, to find out what makes Windsor unique and to hear about the fantastic refurbishment they’ve recently undergone.
“We offer our residents whatever resources and support services they need,” explains Fiona. “We have full-time physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, allied health, registered nurses on site 24/7, and a leisure and lifestyle program that runs seven days a week.”
Leisure and lifestyle program
The leisure and lifestyle program is influenced by what residents are interested in and it’s curated in advance. “We email families so that they know about the program and can participate if they want to. We have concerts and performances on site and organise gardening and cooking. Sometimes we take our residents shopping to Bunnings or the flower markets – or out to the movies, to Brighton for fish and chips, or just for a drive to get an ice cream for those who can’t get out and walk,” says Fiona.
“It’s very much a community and each resident is valued as a person, not just an aged care client,” explains Andrea.
“Our Lifestyle Coordinator makes sure that clients get assessed and that we find out what their interests were and what was important to them prior to their dementia diagnosis, as well as find out more about who they are now and what they’d like to do in the future,” she adds.
“If they’re unable to advocate for themselves, or not able to communicate very well, their family members fill in our lifestyle questionnaire and we try and uncover who that person really was and what we can do to make them continue living a life that’s similar to what they would’ve liked before their dementia diagnosis,” she says.
What makes Windsor unique?
“Everything we do is driven by whatever our residents’ needs are,” says Fiona. “Our philosophy of care and our staff really stand out. We’ve got a very low staff turnover, a really good staff morale and our staff put 100% into caring for our residents and I think that’s what makes the difference.”
“We want to help people have a wonderful life, rather than just exist until the end,” adds Andrea. “That’s why we do things like have pets on site – we’ve got chickens and a dog – as it’s a culmination of those kind of things that helps to give people a better quality of life,” says Fiona.
Windsor’s recent refurbishment to its reception area, dining space, lounge and hairdressing salon took place from October to December 2016.
“We undertook the work because these really vulnerable people deserve really good things and that’s what Alzheimer’s Queensland is trying to provide for them,” explains Fiona.
Based on dementia design principles to help offer better quality of care to residents, the refurbishment was led by Alzheimer’s Queensland’s Interior Design Manager, Katherina Sparti. With extensive experience in aged care and training in dementia design, Katherina uses colour, patterns and textures in a way that’s best aligned for people with dementia.
“The refurbishment looks beautiful and inviting,” says Fiona. “It’s perfect for families, friends and residents to come out and gather and use the salon, or get a cup of coffee and sit down in reception. It’s been beautifully furnished and has a great ambience.”
Andrea adds, “The refurbishment’s light-filled, relaxed and colourful. When you make a happy environment like this, hopefully that transitions into happy residents.”
“We’ve got new Wedgwood crockery and cutlery, and a lovely cappuccino machine. There’s also a massage bed in the hairdressing salon now so residents can come and have some nice complementary therapy there,” she adds.
“We’ve purposefully used nice bright colours, familiar-looking things and things that are beautiful and very home-like. It’s very elegant and functional too but it’s also engaging, with lots of artwork and things that draw the eye, capture the imagination and that people can relate to, in terms of the artwork, photos and furniture,” explains Fiona.
“It’s very important with dementia care, to try and draw people’s eyes along – so if they’re wandering, for example, they’ve got somewhere to go and things to look at on the way that might prompt a memory. Also, they need to be able to find things easily and identify where bedrooms and bathrooms are – but to do so via the design, and not by signposting those, as that gives a more institutional feel. So, we come up with new ideas to get people to do things that trigger their memory – we use photos of themselves or of things that are important to them,” she adds.
“People deserve really good care,” says Fiona. “Our residents have led very big and busy lives so it’s really important that they’ve got the opportunity to sit down at a table that’s laid with flowers, a tablecloth and a teapot – and can reminisce, share stories and form friendships. At Windsor, we’re really trying to create a home away from home.”
Find out more about Windsor Aged Care Services.
Words: Ash Anand