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The 10K Project: Developing community well-being approaches for aged care facilities
Imagine what happens when a residential aged care facility transforms from being a place of care to being a community hub where relationships and inter-generational social networks thrive?
Research shows that the maintenance and development of social networks are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our elderly. Being connected, having a strong identity and continuing to contribute to the fabric of society are essential elements for positive ageing, increased life expectancy and overall life satisfaction.
With the process of ageing commonly viewed as one of decline and burden within wider society, it is imperative that an alternative approach is adopted. A reconceptualising of service provision that shifts from delivery to 'individuals' to communities and 'networks of care', placing relationships and connections as the central tenant.
Placing a Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT (SCC) facility at the core, the 10K Project works to engage with the community resources and networks within a 10-kilometre radius. Drawing together pre-schools, primary and high schools, community centres, Churches and faith-based organisations, neighbourhood centres, TAFE, Universities, arts centres, business owners and businesses, U3A's, garden centres, Land Care and voluntary organisations to create a vibrant, active, social community for young and old.
The 10K Project is a unique wellbeing program that will harness the community networks of two Southern Cross Care (SCC) facilities over three years in partnership with innovators of death literacy, the GroundSwell Project and the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University.For Southern Cross Care's, Head of Care Helen Emmerson, the project is a timely opportunity to introduce initiatives pioneered in countries such as Sweden and Norway. "We know community-centred environments improve health, longevity and happiness. While we currently have social engagement activities in place across all our facilities, there's nothing quite on this scale, and that is also backed by a dedicated community engagement officer. We're excited to be developing research, innovation and advocacy in ageing well and believe the program will have a pay-back for our employees who are passionate about re-envisioning aged care."
- Develop active, connected and engaged aged care environments by shifting the service ethos from being person-centred to community-centred.
- Improve the wellbeing and death literacy of residents, family, staff and the surrounding community.
- Develop and pilot a community development model which can be utilised by other SCC facilities and beyond.
The 10K Project is a unique partnership offering SCC the opportunity to powerfully shape the way future services are conceptualised and developed both at SCC and in the wider healthcare sector. Developing a collective community approach to positive ageing is an innovative service model which addresses issues such as isolation, loss of identity, burden, anxiety and fear, developing community capacity to care in the process. As such this requires a reconceptualization of both aged services and communities, forming networks of care which place relationships and connections as central. It is time to build on the momentum behind Person Centred Care to discover the strength and impact of Network Centred Care.