RESTED: Respite, Education, Support and Tailored Engagement for those living with dementia

Feedback from the retreat...

In this guest post, Sarah Yeates, CEO of Caladenia Dementia Care, shares further information on their RESTED – Staying at Home Program for those living with dementia.

Caladenia has been selected as one of the two organisations in Victoria to receive funding from the Federal Government for the implementation of the Staying at Home Program. Originally piloted by Dementia Support Australia, this program has proven successful and is now being expanded and introduced nationwide.

The RESTED – Staying at Home Program is designed to provide an introduction to respite and is for both the person living with dementia, and the person caring for them. The program is open to couples, family carers, and friends.

Anyone caring for a person living with dementia can access this program.

RESTED offers a 2-night and 3-day Program creating peer support networks and positive respite experiences. The focus is person-centred and holistic, focusing on the skills and knowledge needed to care for someone living with dementia at home now and into the future.

Carers gain a support network, as well as the knowledge and tools to ensure that they are able to care for themselves, and those in their care.

The person living with dementia has the opportunity to meet peers, to take part in planned engagement opportunities, as well as to socialise in a beautiful part of the Yarra Valley.

Highlights from the first program.

Caladenia’s first RESTED Program ran at the beautiful Eden in the Valley in Yarra Glen – a venue more used to seeing bridesmaids and birthdays – and for our occasion it was perfect.

Each of the four couples attending was greeted by name and shown to their own bedroom with en-suite, care having been taken prior to arrival to place appropriate signage on bedroom doors, communal areas and bathrooms.

When the couples were settled in, a casual morning tea with some get-to-know-you conversations was held in the dining area before the carers were invited to the education room, and their partners began their own discussions and planning with the engagement staff.

Carers undertook full days of goal setting, education, and psychosocial support, while the partners living with dementia were offered a chance to discuss their own needs, concerns and questions with qualified and empathetic staff.

The two groups gathered for morning and afternoon tea and had lunch together. The late afternoons and evenings were kept free for casual conversations and relaxation. The inclement weather prevented them from enjoying outdoor walks or activities, but the inviting warmth of the open fire in the lounge created a cozy and judgment-free environment for their interactions.

After collecting feedback at the conclusion of the program, it was evident that many participants were deeply moved by the significance of the three days. It wasn’t just about the information shared or the valuable knowledge and tools for their future, but also the strong support from their fellow participants. The connections formed were apparent as they exchanged phone numbers and arranged to meet up again in a week.

Caladenia has been funded to run another 20 of these RESTED – Staying at Home Programs over the next few years – and referrals are open to anyone in the East of Melbourne who has had a diagnosis of dementia in the last year or so.

We especially welcome enquiries from people living with Younger Onset Dementia, and those carers and people living with dementia who are part of the LGBTIQ+ community.

There is no cost to join the program – it is fully funded – Register your interest with Sarah Yeates – caladenia@caladenia.com.au

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