Enliven works hard to create environments where people with dementia can retain a sense of self, feel valued and enjoy fun and spontaneity.
Dementia is one of New Zealand’s most significant and growing healthcare challenges, and 21 September marks World Alzheimer’s Day.
Almost 70,000 New Zealanders have dementia, and four out of five New Zealanders know or have known someone living with dementia. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, which around two-thirds of people with dementia have.
Enliven, part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian Support Central, has residents with varying degrees of dementia at all its 14 rest homes across the lower North Island. Several homes also offer secure living for those with advanced dementia.
Staff at Enliven homes use a holistic approach to ensure all residents who have dementia feel safe, comfortable, and enjoy where they live, explains Enliven General Manager Nicola Turner.
These approaches can range from the way staff members communicate with residents, to creating familiar environments, having pets as part of the home whānau, and regular connection with nearby schools and kindergartens to bring community into the home and provide meaningful relationships.
“Our homes are designed to include cosy lounges and family-style kitchens that help residents to feel comfortable and safe,” Nicola says.
“We have regular activities, such as music therapy sessions, which can help reduce any feelings of boredom or anxiety that can be common for people with dementia.”
Other social activities, such as pre-dinner drinks and nibbles are also popular, while familiar activities of folding washing, setting dinner tables, and closing curtains orientate residents to comfortable feelings of homemaking.
For many people with dementia who still live at home, they may find they need specialised items to help them around the home or with everyday tasks.
Enliven’s online shop – ShopEnliven – provides products that promote independence and improve wellbeing, all tested by aged care professionals.