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There are a lot of stereotypes about the elderly being beyond sexuality and the need to feel attractive. But this could not be further from the truth.
Sexuality is a large part of who we are as people, and this doesn’t stop as we get older.
Reinforcing someone’s sexuality in their later years is very important. It is crucial to give women the option to feel pretty, and men to feel handsome. Make sure that they feel seductive and desirable. And allow them to become the silver foxes and vixens that they truly are.
However, in carer situations, the ability for older people to express themselves in these ways become limited. It is up to carers and family members to acknowledge the elderly as people who should have the opportunity to have a sexual identity.
Sexuality is critical for people to retain a positive sense of identity and self-value. It is a basic human need to feel good about ourselves. It is important to look and feel glamorous – to be a little bit sensuous.
Many elderly people are single. Some with partners who have passed on, and a large percentage of those entering aged care who do not have a partner. Many older Australians are seeking a romantic interest within their local community or care facility.
So a nice hair cut now and then, or a good shave, shows that they are still out there and looking for love. Ensure people have the option to put on nice jewelry. Buy a tailored outfit. Go shopping. Let them choose their own clothing for an expression of style.
Simple activities like this allow the elderly a better quality of life, a better sense of personal identity and healthier interpersonal relationships.
As odd as it sounds, it is important to talk to older people about their sex life and sexuality. Having an open communication about their wants and needs will help you address anything troubling them or look at things that they could be missing. It shows that you are respecting them. Recognise sex and sexuality as something meaningful and important in their lives.
Discuss it with other people – like friends and family – to normalise the conversation and create a greater awareness.
Some quick tips for talking with residents about sexiness and their sex lives:
Yes. We do have to acknowledge that it will be a little strange at first. But starting these conversations like these will have a big impact on their everyday lives.
The ability for the elderly to present themselves sexually in their day-to-day life is an essential part of people’s identity but is often ignored.
A look into how nutrition for older Australians guarantees better health in aged care and how to promote this.
This article will talk about:
Eating right is a fundamental part of our health, and it becomes even more important so as we grow older. It takes up a large portion of our day and has a huge influence on our physical and mental health.
So, here are the ways in which food can affect the lives of older Australians and ways to promote it.
As they say – healthy body, healthy mind!
General health is becoming a critical part of tackling dementia, and that includes what people are eating as well.
Avoiding fatty or sugary foods that cause high cholesterol levels or blood pressure is very important to maintaining a healthy heart and mind and reducing the chances of strokes and heart attacks that can deteriorate brain health.
Older Australians with dementia or other diagnoses can also be at risk of becoming malnourished. It is vital to be aware of issues that may occur when looking after them. People living with dementia at home can often forget mealtimes, and what they have eaten before. They can develop problems chewing or swallowing their food and even be unable to recognise food and drinks they are given. These factors can lead to further deterioration of health and mental functioning.
However, aged care facilities are able to recognise the extra care needed to support residents with dementia.
Food (while being delicious and nutritious!) presents an opportunity to promote the dignity and independence of older Australians.
Older Australians in carer situations can suffer loss of independence during meal times with carers scheduling strict eating times, serving food that people need assistance eating or simply cooking something they do not like.
However, food provides opportunities for celebration and socialization that contributes to a lot to how we live our lives. There are plenty of ways to do this for residents in carer situations.
Use these times to ensure dignity and choice so mealtimes can become empowering for those involved.
Malnourishment can often lead to lower energy levels in older Australians, causing less engagement with daily activities and social interaction. All of this can affect overall mental health, including links to anxiety and depression.
However, the solution can be as simple as having a nice meal with friends and family.
It is very common for older Australians to lose weight when aging in a carer situation. Unfortunately, there is a cultural belief that this weight loss is normal – or even desired – for older Australians.
However, once an older person becomes malnourished it becomes more difficult for them to recover to a state of health.
Malnourishment can severally impact the everyday lives of residents. It increases the risks of falls, pressure ulcers, and even delirium. It slows down the healing process for injury recovery. And it can further degrade the lifestyle of residents already living with disabilities and dementia.
There needs to be an overall culture change when caring for the aged in order to tackle the issue.
At no point should anyone be ‘force-feed’ or pressured to eat more. It is vital that you make sure to always respect the independence of residents.
This creates a non-invasive way to approach the issue and steer behaviour towards more beneficial ones, not just tackling the issue superficially, but getting the support of family and friends for a better solution.
For those who are time-poor (or skim reading), here is a quick summary of what carers can do to promote nutrition.
If you want any more information, there are some great tips for promoting health and dignity with food from the Social Care Institute for Excellence.
The children from the Montessori School and their grand-friends enjoyed a Mad Hatters Tea Party; celebrating the end of their busy 6-month research project, focusing on the benefits of an Intergenerational Program.
For the party, the Children’s House of Montessori and the staff dressed up with crazy hats and socks. And the children played games and held performances for the residents.
The project was based off international studies showing the benefits of multigenerational activities and paired this with Montessori principles. The program saw many positive improvements since it began in April, including a reduction in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
The research component of the intergenerational program is now complete. But the strong connection formed between the children and their grand-friends has resulted in the program being extended for the near future.
Twilight Aged Care is participating in a local initiative to temporarily repurpose Jamieson House Twilight as a home for displaced women over 55.
The Beecroft House: Housing Partnership Project will provide financial and residential support to the homeless, and give 20 women housing accommodation for the next 2 years. The project will convert Jamieson into a safe and welcoming space and give the building a new name, ‘Beecroft House’. The initiative aims to enhance the lives of these women and give them independence through housing pathways and support services.
The Beecroft House: Housing Partnership Project is the collaboration of the Hornsby council and over 6 organisations in North Sydney area, including the Women’s Shelter, Twilight Aged Care and Link Housing. The majority of these companies, including Twilight, are offering services to the Women’s Shelter project free of charge, including the lease for the building itself.
“Twilight was founded 100 years ago to support women that required assistance. This wonderful initiative goes to the roots of the company’s values”.
This spirit of charity is shared by organisations like The Generous and the Grateful, who have donated the furniture for the building. The organisation works alongside 5 star hotels undergoing refurbishment, and saved any ‘outdated’ furniture for the women’s shelter. The National Projects and Maintenance group, are also providing their services and 40 workers to renovate Beecroft House for free.
Maraget Maljkovic, Chief Operating Officer at Link Housing, spoke about the great need for affordable housing at Beecroft House‘s community information afternoon. Maljkovic said the housing partnership is especially important for older women in the Sydney area where living prices are high. In this way, Beecroft House will provide opportunities for women to get back on their feet in times of financial or personal crisis.
The project aims to work closely with local people and businesses. The Women’s Community Shelter has set up a Facebook page for people to see the construction progress. The page offers opportunities for the community to help out the home with activities such as gardening, painting and cleaning.
Beecroft House is hosting an Open Day on Friday 9th August with free tours of the home, to mark the beginning of the project for interested members of the community. For more information, click here.
A six month local research project started in Glades Bay Gardens last Thursday. It aimed to connect the wisest and youngest generations of North Sydney.
The program involved The Children’s House of Montessori in East Ryde and residents of Twilight Aged Care. The initiative was designed to bridge the social gap between the old and young.
Intergenerational programs bring diverse groups together and unite communities by building relationships and sharing knowledge. This specific project focuses on the benefits of an Intergenerational program using Montessori principles within an aged care setting. It pairs up seniors and children for creative activities to open conversation and learn new skills together.
Denise Underwood, the principal of The Children’s House of Montessori, said that the program gives the children experience outside of an excursion format and allows them to genuinely interact with the community.
A report from Generations United described the far-reaching benefits of these programs in their studies in America. Their research showed how engagement of the children and seniors benefits communities as a whole.
Intergenerational Programs are able to unite diverse groups of people and build social understanding. They provide role models and positive interactions while breaking down negative, generational stereotypes.
The children visiting delighted everyone living at Twilight. They loved the energy that they brought to the day. Dorothy, a resident at Glades Bay Gardens, said that the children were “absolutely wonderful”.
Interacting with children encourages those older to be more active and cognitively alert; improving heart rate and mental health.
Julianne Walker, the volunteer and project coordinator behind the enterprise, was excited about the project. She said that the program has just began, but response from the children and those at Twilight are overwhelmingly positive. The program has 1-2 hours of group interaction per week with a different theme, until its conclusion in mid-September. She looks forward to seeing how the program and relationships will evolve in the coming months.
We were very happy to see so many members of our Hunters Hill Village team be awarded their 10 years of service badge!
Combined, these amazing women have given a life-time of care- 61 years:
The 10 year service badge is a new initiative of the Twilight Aged Care Board. They wanted to acknowledge the exceptional work of those who has been with Twilight for over a decade.
This is an incredible achievement, and we want to thank all of them for their decade(s!) of compassion!
Over $2K worth of cognitive art therapy funds were raised in our Senior Art Exhibition at Glades Bay Gardens last October.
The art show was created by our residents from across all of Twilight Aged Care and included gorgeous works from water colour to gold leaf. The canvases were sold to support creative programs held fortnightly by Art-Based Cognitive Therapy for those living in the residential homes.
Julianne Walker, our volunteer and project coordinator, said that the exhibition was a success in more than one way. The show raised over $2,262 for the art therapy and connected the residents to the local community while positively stimulating and engaging them.
Dementia is the single largest cause of disability for older Australians. Over half of the residential age care population is living with dementia. It affects three in 10 Australian’s over the age of 85 and one in 10 Australians over 65.
Art therapy has been seen to reduce the effects of dementia and improve wellbeing and motor functions. The process of making the artworks has been greatly beneficial to those living at Twilight Aged Care and engaged residents cognitively and technically.
Julianne said that art therapy provides great enjoyment for the residents living with dementia, and those suffering from depression and anxiety.
She has stated that having this program across the Twilight homes provides a “sense of community”. Select artworks from the exhibition are now proudly decorating the homes in a permanent in-house collection.
Julianne is now busy planning for the next art show in October 2019, and says she expects it to be even bigger and better!
Christmas came early this year at Horton House Residential Aged Care Facility as families and guests came together for a festive celebration!
The residents and guests savoured a glass of wine (or bubbly) and an extensive variety of finger foods. With the home cooking up pastries, sandwiches, fruit platters, Christmas coconut balls and fruit mince pies.
Residents like Annette, noted the ‘festive atmosphere’ of the day, “everyone’s happy and very lovely”, she said.
Fiona, thanked all the staff and volunteers for their effort they put into the day, by assisting in preparation for the meals, catering to those attending and assisting the residents prepare for the party. Their efforts in going ‘above and beyond’ helped make the Christmas a merry one for everyone.
For Fiona, the season is about bringing people and families together and “enjoying each other’s’ company”.
The event meant that for some couples like Max and his wife, Ruth, who lives at Horton House, could celebrate Christmas with the Horton ‘family’. The couple has known each other since they were fourteen and Max still visits his wife every day. Christmas celebrations are an important part of their lives.
The Christmas celebration has been a long-time tradition of Twilight aged care, to bring people together during this special time of year.