Wearing those Ruby Red Slippers at MACS
In the 1939 Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s wish to return to home is simply granted by her fancy ruby slippers. And whilst charming, The Ruby Slippers have transcended Hollywood costume design and have fed our wildest imaginations, we can certainly relate to them as an image that evokes the prominence of positive emotion in our everyday lives.
And in MACS’ residential care, like MACS’ Home Services, we work according to the credo “there’s no place like home.” Dorothy’s “no place like home” resonates with us; we know what “home” means to us— it’s far more than just a place where we live. It’s about wherever people love/care for you are found. Like Dorothy’s Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.
Not only that though, just like in Home Services, we see the MACS’ “home” as a safe haven, comfort zone, a stable and secure base. It’s a place of warmth where staff and volunteers spread good cheer, give authentic care and where consumers can truly be their individual selves.
Most older people want to stay at home as long as they can. When this is no longer possible, they move into residential aged care facilities, which then become their home. But the sad fact is that Australia’s 2,672 aged care facilities for the aged are indeed growing in size. And there may be a case, to a limited extent, that aged care facilities are becoming less home-like as argued by Ralph Hampson: https://theconversation.com/australias-residential-aged-care-facilities-are-getting-bigger-and-less-home-like-103521
At MACS we work towards our facility feeling like a home. It’s certainly not a hospital. Getting older is not a disease. It’s not something we catch. We want to ensure that our aged model of care is not revolving about clinical care. Emotional care is still in the equation.
We run counter to the stark reports around aged care recently portrayed in the media. These are not the norm; MACS’ consumers feel they are part of the MACS’ family. They are active and fulfilled, neither regarded as “just a number” with little dignity or control, nor socially isolated.
When we say life continues to be worth living, we’re saying that we look to providing things in life that give our consumers long-lasting pleasure and joy: favourite foods perhaps, a walk in our gardens or socialising with others finding comfort in the MACS’ home. Even if it means wearing electric pink dinosaur pyjamas out to lunch.
And Hampson’s argument that a higher quality of life for those with dementia is associated with environments that help engagement with a variety of activities certainly rings true at MACS. All MACS’ consumers, including Home services, have access to the piazza and wonderful activities that connect with fundamental human needs and a heightened sense of belonging. It might something like be a concert, memory lane café or a national day lunch fest where laughter and companionship linger long after these events.
Perhaps The Royal Commission will provide an opportunity to uncover what great lengths aged care providers go to when achieving great living environments. We also would hope for a reveal of consumers in aged care who, in fact, feel unique, not average or invisible.
And that magical shoes to find such happiness and comfort can belong to all of us when we put our mind to it.
There’s no place like Home: Home-like environments in Aged care facilities, Christine Suter, 2016, Ausmed
Australia’s residential aged care facilities are getting bigger and less home-like, Ralph Hampson, The Conversation, September 2018 2018 https://theconversation.com/australias-residential-aged-care-facilities-are-getting-bigger-and-less-home-like-103521