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AN ARTS PARTNERSHIP with
the National Gallery of Victoria,
a rainforest regeneration
project and a 'Lovers Lane' for
couples who live apart were
just some of the creative and
pioneering programs recognised
by the 2013 Better Practice
Awards announced on July 25.
Selected by a panel of industry
and academic experts, 38 winners
representing 31 providers were
identified as part of the Aged
Care Standards and Accreditation
Agency's annual awards event.
The Better Practice Awards
recognise innovation, quality
improvement and better
practice in aged care across
five categories; environmental
health and personal care,
innovation, resident lifestyle, and
staff development and retention.
Victoria's Emmy Monash Aged
Care was the winner of two Better
Practice Awards for establishing
structured arts-based programs
including the successful 'Art Down
Memory Lane' project, which is run
in collaboration with the National
Gallery of Victoria (NGV).
As part of the program,
residents living with moderate
dementia view and discuss the
latest exhibitions at the gallery -
from Monet to Australian artist John
Brack - as a way to engage with
and feel empowered by the arts.
Tour guides trained by Alzheimer's
Australia lead them in discussion of
the selected paintings.
Project Leader Juanita
Bekinschtein from Emmy Monash
says the residents from the Memory
Support Unit respond passionately
to the detail, colour and emotion in
the paintings and sometimes they
are able to connect the image in the
paintings to real-life memories.
In group discussions the
residents are given the role of 'art
lover' or 'appreciator' and their
interpretation of the artwork is
acknowledged and valued by the
group -- every comment made is
written down. "There's a sense of
being included - of achievement,"
says Ms Bekinschtein.
"It's unbelievable what
happens at the gallery," she
says. "It's a transformation. Their
physical posture changes, people
that don't verbalise usually they
verbalise when they are at the
gallery. Art plucks strings in a way
that nothing else does."
Ms Bekinschtein says the
program is having a residual
effect because some residents
are remembering paintings from
The program is also helping
to address some of the stigma
attached to dementia, she says.
Other winners announced
by the accreditation agency
include a resident-performed
annual musical, a 'Lovers Lane'
garden for couples living apart
and a compilation CD of original
songs and poems composed and
performed by residents at Prague
House in Melbourne. Residents
at Vasey RSL Care's ANZAC
Hostel in Brighton also sit on a
'war and peace panel' where local
students get to hear their wartime
experiences in the facility's award-
winning resident lifestyle program.
BCS Maranoa Centre in
NSW won in the category of
environment for their 'Nurture
with Nature Program'. As part of
the project residents are taking
part in a series of rainforest plant
propagation workshops and
habitation information sessions.
An environmental group has also
been developed to help regenerate
the rainforest area and to protect
dozens of rainforest species.
Bupa Bellarine and Bupa
Merrimac both won awards in
the resident lifestyle category for
their reminiscence and Zumba
falls prevention programs and, in
the area of health and personal
care, Sir Moses Montefiore
Jewish Home took out an award
for their preventative oral health
program, which is run out of the
facility's in-house dental clinic.
In the staff development
and retention category, ACH
Highercombe was recognised for
partnering with 19 schools and
an RTO to deliver a school-based
traineeship program to attract
students to a career in aged care. n
Read the full list of Better
Practice Award winners at
Emmy Monash Aged Care was awarded a Better Practice Award for its 'Art
Down Memory Lane' project. Residents Dora Bienstein, Carmel Tofler and
Rae Darvas at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Top providers honoured at Better
By Linda Belardi
www.australianageingagenda.com.au | 9
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