Dementia affects most people in Southland in one way or another – and it takes a community approach to ensure our region has the best care and support options, Calvary Hospital Manager Margaret Brown says.
Calvary is a not for profit organisation that has provided quality compassionate aged residential care in Southland since the 1960s. The foundation that operates it is now steering plans for Calvary to be replaced by The Hawthorndale Care Village in the near future – as it transitions to a village-based care concept.
Brown says the village concept is finding overwhelming support from residents, families, staff and the wider Southland community.
“The Southland community is recognising that we must set the bar higher in order to redefine aged care. It’s a natural extension of where aged care is going.”
Calvary Hospital was established through the generosity of a local landowner and many others in the Southland community, and The Hawthorndale Care Village project likewise is reliant on the support of the Southland community.
The village will be a community asset that will be a home for Southlanders in need for decades to come, Margaret says.
The village’s steering committee is working hard to help fulfil the vision of allowing people to live as normal a life as possible, she says.
“It is about giving back to past generations, who made the region and the city what it is today, and allowing them to thrive in their later years, when they need care and support.”
Margaret says a not for profit model of ownership puts the community first.
People are supporting the village project because they can see that regardless of the level of care needed, it gives residents a sense of place and belonging and social interaction, she says.
“Residents will retain that all important feeling of independence, living day to day, and being involved in household decisions and tasks, where possible.”
Supporters have also embraced the desire to give residents a greater level of dignity, removing the “locked in feeling” and segregation that currently exists in dementia care, Margaret says.
The Hawthorndale Care Village Trustee and Project Chair Sarah Hannan, who lost her mother to dementia in 2019, says most people in Southland are touched one way or another by dementia – reflecting how rapidly it is growing in New Zealand.
“Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. The total number of people with dementia is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050.”
The estimated proportion of the general population aged 60 and over with dementia at a given time is between 5-8%, she says.
Dementia has a physical, psychological, social, and economic impact, not only on people with dementia, but also on their carers, families and society at large, Sarah says.
Margaret says the village concept offers a far more family friendly environment for people to support a loved one with dementia, she says.
“I think it’s more important than ever when you have dementia to have people round you.”
She sees first-hand how committed wives, husbands, partners and siblings are to their loved ones with dementia.
“Everyone’s lives change dramatically. Well before someone comes into care, their life has already changed dramatically. It’s really hard if one partner is still fit and able, but can’t really go too far away from their loved one.”
This is where the respite care aspect of the village will be so hugely important, Margaret says.
“People newly diagnosed with dementia will have more options for the care they will eventually need. These people will be secure in the village, but it won’t be obvious,” she says.
The Hawthorndale Care Village has just $4 million left to raise with $29m confirmed funding for the $33m development.
To find out more or to donate online head to thehawthorndale.co.nz/donate