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New initiatives launched at Heritage Care

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

Heritage Care Epping aged care home launched its state-of-the-art Memory Support Unit, MSU, supporting people living with dementia. 

The aged care hosted at a referral breakfast on Tuesday for key partnerships such as hospitals, consumer placement agencies and medical organisations to tour the MSU prioritising the mental wellbeing of residents living with dementia.

The MSU is a smaller unit, featuring 14 rooms, gardens, outdoor green spaces, a kitchen, with lighting techniques and gentle background music to induce a calm environment.

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Tovertafel technology – which translates to magic table – was installed by NovitaTech to stimulate physical and social activities for people living with dementia and cognitive challenges.

Residence manager Julio Castillo said the facility was built with purpose led staff who have been trained by Dementia Australia to help residents with their own independence.

“All the staff here are on a mission,” he said.

“I think the whole idea to create a Memory Support Unit in a big facility like this is just to have that variable conversation with the family to say that we can look after your loved one.”

Heritage Epping aged care home hosted a referral breakfast on Tuesday, which saw the launch of the Memory Support Unit and the Humour Foundation’s Laughter Care program that started on Wednesday with residents. ​

The Humour Foundation’s Laughter Care program is built into Heritage Epping’s Memory Support Unit care model. As the resident enters into the MSU, they will participate in the Laughter Care program.

For more than 20 years, the Humour Foundation has brought humour to sick children in hospitals with trained performers.

Now, through the Laughter Care program, aged residents needing positive interactions during a time of immense loss can feel empowered again.

Each week a mix of residents at the aged care home will use the program through laughter care specialist Lauren, who helps residents interact on their own terms with music, singing, dancing, stories, props and reminiscence.

Laughter care specialist David Wells, often known as fun, free-spirited ‘Freddie’ in his specialist role, said the program was geared towards making inclusive interactions with residents, including their families that needed connection with their loved one.

“If a resident can have a good time and have the sense of confidence and power to really connect with people and make everyone else laugh, it’s really, really great,” he said.

“That’s what I really love when they take on the role that I’ve got, when they’re facilitating the group, when they’re putting the energy in, when they’re joking around and they are sharing and being kind to each other, when they are being generous.”

Mr Castillo said the Humour Foundation would make a difference at the Epping residence.

“Having the Humour Foundation [is] to engage with them, to bring them out of the room, to work with the family,” he said.

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