I had a long chat with the social worker/psychologist at Port Macquarie Hospital this afternoon, who provided lots of wonderful advice and support with regard to Barry.
I spent all of yesterday traipsing around nursing homes on the Central Coast, well two of them anyways. I knew the criteria that I needed to meet: secure dementia facility; own room with ensuite; strong activities programme.
The first one, HammondCare at Erina, had the first and second, but not the third. The second one, Woy Woy Community Aged Care, had the first and third, but not the second. I had a long talk with Ross, and we agreed that the HammondCare facility suited Barry more than the other. Baz has lived by himself for 40 years. He might have gone a week without talking to another person!
HammondCare has 74 dementia residents in five cottages. Two of these cottages are for bed-bound residents and they each have 18 residents. There are different cases in each of the other three cottages, but there is one cottage with a vacancy and it houses 10 residents and their housekeeper, plus nursing staff who come in and out. All 10 are ambulatory but with differing needs. Barry is ambulatory with the NEED to do things, to still feel usefully employed.
The social worker and I discussed how to create this sense of contribution for Baz.
Firstly, we need to set up his room appropriately. Less emphasis on the bed and clothing being the focus, and more on the work bench being the focus. A computer table, a work bench, and a part of the courtyard set aside for him to garden and keep tidy.
Then she introduced me to 'Rummage Boxes'. Apparently, they are valuable in the care of dementia patients. I have described them for Ross, and declared their creation and stocking to be HIS responsibiity.
There will be a RB about leather working; a RB about gardening; a RB about clocks; and, a RB about valve radios. That should get us started.
I have a whole bunch of things to do - official things, that involve filling in lots of forms, and making lots of phone calls. And probably going to Port Macquarie for Monday and Tuesday.
HammondCare does not have an official activities programme because it is individual-based care, which is the best sort for dementia sufferers. I gather the best style of care is provided by both HC and by Uniting Care. He lives in this cottage, and his life does not revolve around his affliction but around what he wants to do with himself. Once he can get involved with things that strike his fancy, they will treat the dementia as a side issue.