Hens, humour, cooking and care have been combined to maintain and improve the wellbeing of residents, in a major aged care expansion to keep seniors connected with the Grafton community.
In a regional first, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt AM on Monday, officially launched the innovative Creative Ageing programs, which are being run in the expanded Whiddon Grafton aged care home.
“Through comedy, art, music, dance, cooking, storytelling, pet therapy and caring for chickens, homes like this are sweeping away stereotypes about life in a residential care facility,” Minster Wyatt said.
“Creative Aging boosts residents’ sense of accomplishment and confidence and has been shown to improve both physical and mental health. It’s also wonderful to see how it links seniors with primary and high school students.”
Creative Ageing includes the VintageBites intergenerational cooking and video program and the award-winning HenPower program, where residents come together as a community to care for hens.
Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, said the Whiddon Grafton home had grown to include an additional 56 residential care places, a 23-place secure dementia care wing, outdoor courtyards and a café.
“It’s a valuable centre for Clarence Valley seniors and a major local economic boost, with the expansion supporting an extra 60 ongoing jobs at Whiddon, plus significant extra employment and business activity in the Grafton area,” Mr Hogan said.
“Backed by over $4 million in annual funding from the Turnbull Government, there’s now room for 110 elder Australians here, in modern but homely surroundings.
“The expanded facility reflects our strong focus on the importance of keeping local residents connected to the communities they know and love.”
In 2016-17 the Turnbull Government invested more than $124 million in recurrent annual funding for aged care services in the electorate of Page, including over $97 million for residential care.
Minister Wyatt said the national investment in aged care this financial year was a record $18.6 billion and the Government was committed to healthy ageing, whether seniors lived at home or in residential care.
“It is critical that our elder Australians feel empowered and remain as active and engaged in their communities as possible,” the Minister said.
“That’s why it is heartening to know that Whiddon’s Creative Ageing programs are available to all residents at Grafton, no matter what level of care they are receiving.”
For more information on the Creative Ageing programs see www.whiddon.com.au/research-and-innovation/creative-ageing/