13 December 2008

St Laurence launches Dementia Care Farm

Australian first solely dedicated care farm to assist people with dementia
Department of Ageing: 8 December 2008
Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot today officially opened Australia’s first solely dedicated care farm to assist older Australians living with dementia. Overseas research – particularly in the USA and Holland – has found that caring for pets and local-scale gardening has been found to improve a resident’s physical and emotional health and assist with behavioural problems often associated with dementia.

The St Laurence Care Farm in Lara, Victoria is patterned on a Dutch model where people with dementia help with farming activities such as caring for animals and gardening. There are more than 7,000 people in The Netherlands participating in more than 850 care farms there. In the 1990s in the USA, nursing homes began to encourage residents to participate in the care of companion animals and gardening – rather than medication to respond to behavioural problems – known as the Eden Alternative. The Department of Health and Ageing reports there are more than 20 residential aged care homes that operate with a similar approach to the Eden Alternative.

The Elizabeth Gates Village, Singleton NSW, recently gave a presentation at an Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency seminar on the way in which its farm had expanded and the impact it had had on the lives of residents in both the low care and high care homes. … > full media release : St Laurence media release

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