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AnglicareSA’s Solar Pilot Program continues to be a shining light on the national stage, taking out the Sustainability category of the recent Future of Ageing Awards.

Launched in October 2020, the collaboration with CORENA, 369 Labs, and Beat Energy provides smart rooftop solar energy systems to tenants with no upfront costs.

Currently, 150 systems have been installed on our aged care Independent Living Units and Believe Housing Australia (BHA) properties. The solar systems are fully paid for, maintained, and owned by AnglicareSA and BHA.

With no out-of-pocket expenses for tenants, this solar initiative helps to reduce bills, contribute positively to the environment, and educate our tenants to better understand and control how and when to use energy throughout the day.

It is estimated that annual tenant savings through the solar project is in the range of $250-$280, representing an energy bill saving of up to 25 per cent each year.

In September, Believe Housing Australia was honoured with the Innovation Award for the solar project at the Australasian Housing Institute (AHI) Brighter Future Awards SA/NT. 

“Winning the Innovation Award for our Solar Project is truly marvellous, shedding light on our unwavering dedication to enhancing lives and nurturing sustainable communities through groundbreaking ideas and unwavering commitment,” Believe Housing Australia Executive General Manager Stacey Northover said. 

As we work towards our goal of increasing the supply of social and affordable housing in South Australia, we’re committed to ensuring the development of sustainable homes suitable for the long-term.

Enjoying a simple conversation and putting a smile on the faces of the residents he visits is real sense of satisfaction for volunteer John.

Every fortnight John gives up his time at our Westbourne Park residential aged care site as a Community Volunteer, engaging with a number of regular residents in one-on-one conversations about anything and everything.

“I try to get them to talk and find the touch points that really light up their eyes,” said John.

“And if I can get them talking and there’s a bit of a brightness in their face because they get quite animated about what they did in their working life or a particular hobby or interest – I’ve really achieved my goal.

“If you can get a big cheery smile when you walk in the room – and they’ve clearly not been feeling too good – and their face lights up, that’s the satisfaction, probably more than anything else.”

After retiring in 2019 from a successful career in retail, in particular shopping centre management, John wanted to be able to give back to the community that had been so good to him.

“I had thought for some months before retiring, that I really would need to do something else to keep engaged with people,” John said.

“And I think there was a real sense of wanting to give back. I felt that I’d been given a lot of opportunities in my working life, so giving back to the community, in some form or another, that’s what I’d do.”

Customer Wellness Coordinator Jennifer Pilling said the Westbourne Park team were grateful to have such a wonderful Community Volunteer in John who makes so much of a difference with his visits.

“John truly cares about the residents and their stories,” Jennifer said. “They enjoy discussing topics of interest to them and so the resident leads the dialogue and John follows.

“Families of residents also enjoy John visiting and will chat to him when he comes in.”

At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people in need. Volunteers are an integral part of our support services — their generosity and commitment enable us to deliver a broad range of services to the South Australian community.

You can Register Your Interest online by clicking here, or alternatively view our current volunteer opportunities here.

Meet Frances. Frances is the friendly face that welcomes new residents into AnglicareSA’s Westbourne Park residential aged care site.

Given the role of Resident Companion, for the last four months Frances has been helping newcomers to the site make a smooth the transition into living at Westbourne Park.

“I like to show them where everything is,” Frances said, with a bright smile and beaming pride in her official title. “I help them settle in from a resident’s point of view and do everything from going on the bus with them, where to find things, or just talking.

“My dinner table is known as the Happy Table because everyone is included, and people know they can sit and talk and be welcomed.”

A resident at the site for just a year herself, Frances was approached by the Customer Wellness team who were looking do develop the role of Resident Companion.

Customer Wellness Coordinator Jennifer Pilling said the role was also about having someone that would be with residents who did not want to engage in activities and yet felt lonely or agitated.

“It was obvious that Frances would be ideal in this role, and she has taken to it with enthusiasm,” Jennifer said.

“Frances has been doing this role for a little more than four months now and we did an evaluation recently of the role and the other residents rated her highly.

“They said she was a wonderful friendly face that was always welcoming and gave them comfort when they needed it.”

Frances is relishing her role and describes it is as her “church work” where she also volunteers her time to helping others.

Her commitment and efforts were recently recognised as part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities where she was one of several residents who were acknowledged with Certificates of Merit for their volunteer roles within the site.

AnglicareSA’s Trott Park and Elizabeth East Residential Aged Care sites have joined with the University of South Australia in a research project focusing on dementia care. 

Titled Critical Dementia Pathways: Transforming Dementia Care, the UniSA project is being conducted in collaboration with the Rosemary Bryant AP Research Centre and has resulted in the development of a dedicated Dementia Care Teams. 

The teams – consisting of employees, including management, clinical, and care staff – ensure a comprehensive and holistic approach to dementia care and has been educated on the principles of Dementia Care Pathways. 

The program pathways have been integrated into high-risk meetings, where identified risks are appropriately triaged and referred to specialists as required, allowing for early intervention and targeted support to minimise the potential for inappropriate administration of psychotropic medications.  

The goal is to improve the quality of life for residents living with dementia through promoting their wellbeing.  

Graydn Spinks, Executive General Manager, Aged Care Services, said the Dementia Care Teams are highly motivated and committed to this research project.  

“They are proud of the work accomplished so far and are enthusiastic about the positive changes they have observed,” Graydn said. 

“The research project is progressing well, and UniSA anticipates finalising it by the end of this year and everyone is excited about the potential impact of the project and the anticipated positive outcomes on resident care.”  

Publication of the research project is provisionally scheduled for January 2024.

When a stroke on the first day of February this year threatened to rob Garry of his independence and mobility, he knew the success of his recovery was in his hands.

Garry chose to fully commit to his rehabilitation program, smashing the goals set as part of AnglicareSA’s Transition Care Program (TCP).

Now Garry is back on his feet and regaining his freedom.

“When I had the stroke, it was devastating,” Garry says of the medical emergency that landed him in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“When I first went to emergency I could still walk and use my arms. They admitted me to the RAH and the doctor asked me to show them how I could walk, I got up and the next moment I did a somersault into the corner of the room.

“My left leg and left arm were paralysed – the stroke was still happening.”

With the left side of his face drooping, unable to speak, and difficulty swallowing– Garry needed immediate treatment to break down the clot in his brain.

This treatment was followed the next vital stage of his recovery – rehabilitation.

He knew the harder he worked at rehabilitation, the greater the chance of regaining his independence.

“When I first got to Hampstead (Rehabilitation Centre), they said it was up to me – either I could let it beat me or I could get stuck into my physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

“So, I went ballistic with my rehab and left there in record time.”

Your body is remarkable. It finds new pathways to send those signals to get your hand and leg working again, all those functions.

Once back at home, Garry was referred by his medical team into AnglicareSA’s Transition Care Program, a 12-week in-home restorative care program delivered at a slower pace than rehabilitation in a hospital and based on goals set by the customer.

AnglicareSA staff interpret those goals into therapy with physical and other supports like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, and care workers to help customers with exercises and recovery in the home.

“Your body is remarkable,” Garry says reflecting on the recovery he has already made and continues to make. “It finds new pathways to send those signals to get your hand and leg working again, all those functions.

“I had physiotherapy and occupational therapy with the whole program structured around balance and mobility.

“I reached all my goals, and while I don’t quite have the same strength it is improving, and I have function of my hand, arm, and leg.”

Garry is full of praise for the Transition Care Program and his therapists Alice (occupational therapy) and Kate (physiotherapy), as well as allied health assistant Chelsea, crediting TCP, and the fact it is delivered in his home, for enabling him to be in the position he is today.

“I had someone here every couple of days and it’s such a great package. They also came and did some cleaning for me and provided more intensive supports when I first came home – even shopping.

“My coordinator Hannah should get a gold star,” Garry beams. “She was fantastic, she kept in contact with me and kept me up to date on the day-to-day stuff. She made me aware of everything that was happening and checked on my progress.

“I tell you, if I had a business today, I’d employ her and make her the manager.”

After such a strong recovery, Garry, who is a plumber by trade, is now working toward his next goal – regaining his driver’s license and getting back to being fully independent.

“When you have a stroke, they suspend your license, which is fair enough,” he adds with a grin. “But my license is my independence and I want to be completely mobile again and get back to doing the small handyman jobs so I can supplement my pension.”