Embracing Life's Next Chapter at The Salvation Army Residential Aged Care Centres

June 30, 2022
Embracing Life's Next Chapter at The Salvation Army Residential Aged Care Centres

Human beings are social, dynamic creatures, and depending on your personality, we thrive on social interaction and doing activities. Many people think that this aspect of life comes to an end once you go to residential aged care, but at The Salvation Army Aged Care (“TSAAC”), this could not be further from the truth. “This is a new adventure with new opportunities, where you can meet new people, it’s a chance for you to learn more and share your story”, Woodport Aged Care Centre Chaplain Cynthia says.  

With a koi pond and teahouse onsite, Woodport Aged Care Centre provides a sanctuary for older Australians in the Central Coast community, with staff who embody our values of integrity, compassion, respect, diversity and collaboration. They work hard to create a sense of belonging in this community, to ease the initial transition period into aged care and thereafter, ensure the residents’ comfort and wellbeing in their new home. This is a personalised process depending on the individual’s personality, with our Chaplains and Lifestyle team working together to find the best solution for them, varying from emotional support to creative projects.  

Lifestyle Coordinator Linda loves to meet residents on their first day, “I introduce myself to them and help to familiarise them with myself and the Centre. It can be up to five days that I do that and it's the same time every day, to reassure them and slowly build a trust up”.  

Woodport boasts an extensive Lifestyle program including art, cooking, visiting entertainers, sing-alongs and collaborations with local schools. Residents are encouraged to have lunch together in the communal dining room, which has helped them mingle and get to know one another. Often, staff initially accompany residents to activities and introduce them to other residents with similar personalities, gradually allowing them to build up their confidence. Surveys about Lifestyle activities are conducted monthly and resident meetings quarterly to incorporate resident feedback into the day-to-day.  

Chaplains Cynthia and Richard create a Spiritual Care Plan to learn how to best support residents spiritually, this is created firstly once they move in and then followed up by another assessment after three months to ensure that the residents are settling in well and are happy with their plan, with regular reevaluation thereafter. Spiritual Care Plans are not only limited to religion, but also help to assist with residents’ overall emotional wellbeing, which is important for our holistic care.  

The plan consists of questions posed to the resident to gauge who they are, what they may need and their relationship to spirituality. Residents can share as much as they feel comfortable with and the answers help our Chaplains tailor their programs and initiatives, as well as how to assist them in general each day. 

In her day-to-day, Cynthia prioritises regular visitations to residents and holds regular discussion groups for residents to share their thoughts and stories, “I appreciate the opportunity to be there for them and it’s important to let them know someone’s there to help them”.

 

Janice is a thriving member of the Centre community. “She loves it and wishes she could’ve done it sooner”, Linda says, “the group setting is better, and it’s helped her to improve her independence. It’s made her life a bit more complete”. The staff have her involved as much as possible, with Janice even acting as a welcome committee to new residents. “Janice has that empathy to help the new residents and her social personality helps with this too”. 

For resident Marg who’s in her 90s, it took a while for her to accept living in aged care, but now she loves it. “She’s more active now than she was out in the community”, Linda says, “before she had to depend on her community care worker and family. Now she has people coming by all the time and they are familiar faces”. 

Experiencing new things and pursuing your interests is what life is about and Woodport and TSAAC provide an opportunity to do just that, where you can also embrace independence in a safe and stable environment.  

About the homely and welcoming atmosphere, Linda and Cynthia sum it up best, “It's how we make them feel, you know, and even if they're down, we just walk up and say, would you like a hug? Just even a smile. Genuinely smiling at someone and showing some interest. I think that that is the main thing”.