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Welcome to Caladenia

Founded in 1983, Caladenia Dementia Care is a not-for-profit agency providing respectful care and support for people living with dementia and their carers. We are located in a purpose-designed building in Mooroolbark, in Melbourne's outer east.

Our Day Centre runs five days per week with a variety of dementia-specific respite and recreational programs to meet the needs of people living with varying degrees of dementia. There are two men-specific outing groups, as well as a group that runs further out in the Yarra Valley for those in more rural areas.

Our services include support, information and advocacy for carers, as well as a monthly carer support group. Our services to carers are available to anyone in the community caring for a person living with dementia. Caladenia's programs are overseen by 20 qualified staff and 45 trained volunteers. Currently we provide services to over 60 people each week.

Our programs aim to promote self-esteem for the person living with dementia and to give friends and family members a break, knowing that their loved one is happy, meaningfully occupied and safe.

Our services are available to anyone with dementia - from very early stage, or first diagnosis - to separate programs for people with more advanced dementia.

Caladenia Dementia Care is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health under the Community Home Support Program, and from the Victorian Government's Home and Community Care Program. Caladenia also receives funds from the Yarra Ranges Council, and some private donations. It is administered by a full-time Manager and a volunteer Board of Directors.

Manager's Report 2018

It has been a year of great changes here at Caladenia.

These changes have been both positive and negative.

George Bernard Shaw once said "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

There is also a popular saying "that which does not kill you only makes you stronger." We're still here - so we must be a pretty strong bunch!

Change triggers progress - and this year our programs and services have expanded and progressed, in both numbers and scope. The new flexible respite funding has allowed us to respond to the needs of those who use the services in a more flexible and accommodating manner, responding more directly to individual needs. We have been able to support clients in the program on a one to one basis where needed, and we were able to support one carer through five weeks of daily radiation and care for his wife during this time.

Change drives improvement and innovation. Change the question - how can we improve/adapt/vary the way we do things, our processes and procedures? We have seen a streamlining in the program planning process, as well as work being done around ensuring the sustainability of the organisation into the future. We must change as the political and economic climate changes around us.

Change engenders personal and individual growth. Making changes means that staff can be given new opportunities to expand their knowledge base and take on new responsibilities. We are only just starting this process but we will continue to invest in our staff - our greatest asset.

Change makes a team adaptable and resilient; it shakes us from our comfort zone and prepares a team for the unknown. At present there is no information available about the structure or format of future funding. Different models are being discussed, but there is no firm direction from State or Federal Governments. Planning for the unknown has encouraged our strategic thinking, and encouraged the Board and I to consider creative and complementary ideas and business models.

With change comes opportunity. We have embraced the opportunity that the flexible funding brings - using it to meet our clients' needs in new and innovative ways. We are able to provide extra staff support for someone transitioning from one group to another; we have provided some limited in-home care; some of our clients have had the chance to rekindle a hobby they never thought they would be able to do again, and to try things they always wanted to. Harley Davidsons, kites, Elvis impersonators, baking, kicking a footy, throwing the Frisbee, cherry picking, fruit carving, footy tipping, babies - just to name a few.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." So said Roman writer Seneca. As a community we faced a totally unexpected end to a wonderful beginning when we lost Corey early this year. But - his influence on each of us has brought new beginnings for many. A determination to do better, to be better, and to go through the day making each small moment matter. Each change is about closing one chapter and opening another.

Change shakes us from routine, makes us consider why we do things the way they are done. "Because we've always done it that way" is not an adequate answer! Sometimes our way is not the best way, or the most efficient way, or the most creative or useful way. Change allows us to look at things through fresh eyes, and dare to change for more than change's sake alone.

One of the newer staff asked if she could substitute Clix biscuits for Savoys at morning tea. They are softer and easier to eat. You should have seen the faces around the table ranging from shock to horror - and then we laughed at the absurdity of our reactions. The change was made, the biscuits are easier to eat - and Armageddon did not start.

Thank you to the incredible Caladenia Staff - both new and old. It is the individual members who make this team so resilient. It has been a year of change - but one thing has not changed, and that is the commitment of the staff to doing the best work they can possibly do.

Thank you to our mighty team of volunteers. They support and add to every program that we run - and without their time, their willingness and their commitment - we certainly could not run the fantastic and creative programs that we do.

Thank you to our Board of Directors - particularly Harry who has provided support and guidance throughout the challenges of the past year, and for their belief in the work that we do.

Here's to the next challenge!

Sarah Yeates - Manager

Sand Sculptures

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.

Inspecting the sand sculptures

Inspecting the sand sculptures

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 varied ways.

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.

Walking on the shore

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