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In this episode of Grey Matters, Tracey and Ben discuss the benefits of aged care community living.

Community living has some distinct differences and benefits compared to living in your own home or a residential aged care facility.

Tracey explains how aged care community living is like a village within a village and how the Seasons model aims to support people to live the age they are inside … whatever age that may be!

Key points discussed:

  • Difference between retirement villages and community living
  • Benefits of aged care community living for couples
  • How care works within aged care communities
  • The types of care can people access
  • How choice is supported in aged care communities
Read Full Transcript

Ben: Good day again, in this episode of Grey Matters, the benefits of community living. Ben Davis with you. Alongside me in the studio is Tracey Silvester from Seasons Aged Care. Tracy, let's go straight off the bat here. Community living as opposed to retirement village living. Two very different things.

Tracey: Yes. When we're talking about community living, Ben, we're not talking about community living in terms of staying in your own home because that's what some people might think it is. We're not talking about retirement villages. Retirement villages are really for a group of people who want to downsize as they get older, and they don't want to have the big backyard, and the 42,000 steps up at the front and down the back, and they also want some lifestyle with that.

When we talk about community living, and that's something ... it's a term that was really coined within Seasons to describe what we do there. It's really to talk about the benefits of living in a community as you age. The idea is, we've created a village within a village. Within our Seasons environment, the difference I guess is that, we've created a community that's got a very strong focus on people being looked after either by their family members, or their partners, or their spouses, or the on-site care staff that we have within Seasons.

The benefit particularly for couples as they age, the thing that they hate the thought of the most is that they might be separated because one of them needs to go into a nursing home.

Ben: And that doesn't happen here?

Tracey: We actually pride ourselves on being able to look after couples as they age. The person who doesn't need care can actually get their life back and the person who does need care can receive the care but they're still together.

Ben: It can be so scary. You've just peeled that all back. Now, there is also assisted care on-site.

Tracey: We have our 24-hour, 7 day a week care provider. We pride ourselves on being a support to the family, whatever that looks like. Mum or Dad, or both need care, how much care do they need, what bits are you going to do, and what bits will we do? It's quite seamless.

Ben: That level of care can increase-

Tracey: Yes.

Ben: ... or decrease as needed?

Tracey: That's right. We are not unknown to be having care staff working from somebody's house if they're very unwell or if they actively receiving palliative care. Or we might visit someone once a week to do their cleaning.

Ben: Tracey, someone just coming in to do the cleaning once a week, I mean, that's a level of care.

Tracey: Absolutely. In fact, there's a lot of research Ben, that says that for people who are ageing and starting to need services, that cleaning services is probably the most important service that they will ever get because functionally, in terms of people ability to do stuff, that's something that they lose as they get older, is the ability to mop the floor, or to clean the toilet, or whatever.

The other thing that that means is that there's somebody going in to actually see how that person's going and can pick up on some of those really subtle declines in somebody's health. It really does depends on what they need and what they want. Choice is really, really important to us and we're on a bit of a mission within Seasons to support people to live the age they are inside.

Ben: Positively ageing.

Tracey: Yes. We've all got an age we are inside. I'm 29. Yeah, you laugh. Yeah, right. I know.

Ben: I would have thought 25.

Tracey: Yeah, thanks. But if you actually thought about it, there's an age that you are, that you still think back and you go, "Yeah. I'm still that age." If you talk to older people, and I've done a fair bit of talking to older people over the last 12 months, they've all got an age they are inside. They get really cranky when you start talking to them about being an old person. We try within Seasons, actually keep people thinking about themselves as that 25-year-old.

Ben: Tracey, so many benefits of community living. Thank you for peeling back the scariness for anyone who is entering into this. Remember, Grey Matters.

Related blog posts:
Hidden benefits of community living
Ellen’s choice for community living 

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Tracey Silvester
Tracey Silvester is Executive Manager of Envigor and has more than 25 years’ experience in health and aged care services. Tracey is committed to ensuring that our elders are able to exercise their right to choose how they live their lives regardless of their ability or function. Tracey is a Registered Nurse and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Management. She is also an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management and a surveyor with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.
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June, Bribie Island
“I enjoy it. I have a lot of friends here and I can come and go as I please.”
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Lew, Caloundra
“I love it here. We moved in here reasonably well but we liked the idea of not having to move again. As we got older, the help would be there – that’s what we liked about it. My daughter was the one that said ‘Look Lew and Denise, you ought to move while you can. While you’re still well’ and then she told us about this place called Seasons and that’s why we’re here! The staff are absolutely wonderful and the best thing is the whole atmosphere. We lived in another village before but they didn’t have the care or the health support so that’s why we moved. I’d definitely recommend it!”