Manager's Annual Report 2016
It has been a year of change in the community care sector. After 3 years
of transition the HACC program in Victoria transitioned on July 1st to the
Commonwealth Home Support Service. While our programs remain unchanged,
offstage we now have different funding and reporting responsibilities,
and a different way of accepting referrals.
It has been a full and productive year for us. Our programs have
responded to the changing needs of our clientele, which has meant a full
and varied program of activities. We have had entertainers, singers, line
dancers. We have visited museums and been sailing. Our group members have
had input into the menus and meals and in one case helped cook a favourite recipe.
Our programs certainly provide respite for family members, a chance
for them to have a break or get things done - but just as importantly we
provide a chance for people living with dementia to socialise, make friends
and have a laugh, and a place just for them amongst people who accept them
just as they are. Many members take great pleasure in talking with family
and friends about "Their Club". This is so important for people living with
dementia, because it is known that despite all good intentions it can get
harder to continue in mainstream social groups, and friends can slip away
or lose contact.
I believe that no agency or organisation operates well in isolation.
We are part of a larger community of services and agencies - and it can only
benefit us to work alongside others, sharing ideas and knowledge for a better
outcome. Caladenia has been involved in other activities in the sector this
year such as "Dancin Dayz" event funded through Yarra Ranges Council and in
partnership with Heather Hill - Dance Therapist, "The Time of Your Life"
Seniors Expo in conjunction with Yarra Ranges Council, and the Songwriting
project that you will hear more about from our guest speakers.
During the last twelve months we have run training in Croydon,
Warragul, Frankston and South Kingsville for DHHS, we have spoken at Probus,
at Warburton RSL and Healesville Community House. We have been on Radio Eastern,
and spoken to the Chirnside Park Seniors.
I also spoke at the Dementia and Recreation Conference this year with
a presentation titled "Let's Talk About Lingerie". What a successful session!
Caladenia has always had a wonderful reputation, but I believe that it
is our willingness to be involved, to contribute to discussions, forums,
training and networks - to think outside our core business, and contribute to
the wider community for the benefit of people living with dementia that has
enhanced our good name - but also advantages us on so many levels.
My thanks as always to the wonderful team of staff at Caladenia =
they always go above and beyond.
To our fabulous Volunteers - you know we could not do this without you.
And my thanks to Harry and the Board for their support and leadership
throughout the year.
Sandcastles are all about the here and now. They exist for a mere
moment of time and are washed away with the next tide. But the feelings of
enjoyment and achievement we gain through building them are ours forever.
So it is for many of the people living with dementia who attend our various
groups, outings and club days - the activities and venues themselves may
not make it into the long term memory - but the feelings of enjoyment,
camaraderie, friendship and laughter can only enrich each person's day,
whether it be for a minute, and hour or a year. It is always worth it.
Our men's group recently visited the sand sculptures on the foreshore at
Frankston, and the photos of the day are glorious. No one is ever too old to
enjoy a sand castle.
Our men's groups are for men with early to moderate dementia, and these
small groups visit a variety of venues across Melbourne that are of interest
to men. We also have a male staff member and a male volunteer accompany the
Program Leader, Cathy on the trips to encourage conversation and mateship.
The dynamics for a group of blokes are quite different to that of the ladies,
and the social and conversational needs of men have been proven to focus on
different styles and methods of communication. It is because of research into
this area that we have the burgeoning "Men's Shed" movement and groups such as
ours are now striving to meet the individual needs of both men and women in
Our men's group loved the day down at Frankston, and a couple of the group
took the opportunity to take off their shoes and walk through the edge of the
waves in the sand.
That's what it's all about. The opportunity for a chat with like minded
people and the feeling of sand between your toes.