• Resthaven’s ‘Staying at Home in Regional South Australia’ program retreat in Stirling

    Resthaven’s ‘Staying at Home in Regional South Australia’ program retreat in Stirling

    On 17–19 October, Resthaven hosted its second ‘Staying at Home in Regional South Australia’ program retreat in Stirling, in a beautiful residence set against the backdrop of the Adelaide Hills.

    The government-funded program focuses on enabling people living with dementia and their carer to experience quality respite care, wellbeing and engagement opportunities with targeted support.

    It aims to support older South Australians living with dementia to stay at home for as long as possible.

    Resthaven Project Officer, and Dementia Education Specialist, Gillian Schulze (pictured above left), explains, ‘The program invites small groups of carers and the person they care for to a short-stay retreat.’

    ‘It creates an opportunity for people to meet others with a similar experience, and for carers to receive education and support, knowing that they are not alone in this journey.’

    Cherie-Lee and Bill
    Cherie-Lee and Bill

    ‘All the while, the person they care for is supported by trained Resthaven staff 24/7, with plenty of activities on offer.’

    Resthaven Murray Bridge, Hills and Fleurieu Community Services client, Mr Bill Kable, attended the retreat with his daughter and primary carer, Cherie-Lee (pictured right).

    According to Cherie-Lee, the experience has been ‘a game-changer.’

    ‘My goal was to understand how I can better assist Dad and support him throughout this entire journey,’ she says.

    ‘The sessions with Gillian have been so informative. I have learned so much about dementia, and Dad has really enjoyed his time here.’

    Similarly, Mr Clive Lewis, of Resthaven Marion Community Services, and his wife, Trish, have cherished their time at the retreat.

    Trish, who is the primary carer of Mr Lewis, says, ‘It has been absolutely fantastic.’

    Trish and Clive
    Trish and Clive

    ‘I have met a lot of people with similar experiences to us. We’ve all been one big family over the past few days, learning from each other and sharing our journeys.’

    ‘The education is so valuable; I now have a different perspective of everything, and I have learned to take things a little more calmly.’

    Mr Lewis says, ‘It’s been a perfect time away — a real tree change! I’ve had fun with all the activities.’

    Resthaven home support workers, Alyson McNamara, Jenny Hall and Deb Blight, have ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ their time supporting clients over the course of the retreat.

    Deb says, ‘Being a carer for someone you love can be a challenging and isolating experience. This retreat is all about person-centred care, for both the person living with dementia and their carer.’

    ‘It’s such a unique opportunity and I’m thankful to be part of it.’

    Jenny agrees, saying, ‘Carer burnout is a real thing, and we’re trying to prevent that.’

    ‘Introducing education and a wide range of support mechanisms, including respite, will hopefully address the barriers that carers may face, and improve their access to and experience of respite.’

    Alyson adds, ‘By showing the carer that their loved one is safe and supported in a respite-styled environment, they feel much calmer and realise that they don’t always need to be in control.’

    ‘They go about their day with the confidence that they are supported, self-realising that their health is just as important, and they need some time to look after themselves too!’

    The ‘Staying at Home in Regional South Australia’ program forms part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Take a look at some images of the retreat below.

    Participants do not need to be Resthaven clients; as long as you meet the criteria of having a diagnosis of dementia, want to stay living at home, and have a carer, you can access the program.

    The next retreat will be hosted on Hindmarsh Island. Enquire now for 2024 retreats in the Limestone Coast, Riverland and other areas.

    For more information, head to: https://www.resthaven.asn.au/staying-at-home-program/

    Have a look at respite for carers