Ageing, wellbeing and weaving

Anna McLelland (pictured) greatly enjoys weaving classes at Uniting AgeWell Strathdon. In the weekly class residents mostly weave colourful bath mats, which each participant either keeps or on-sells at the facility’s annual fete or on-site café as a fundraising venture. The group meet on Fridays guided by a volunteer who lives in independent-living quarters at the facility.

“As well as the weaving group, we have a weekly craft group that makes dolls and Christmas decorations; we run a pottery group and a men’s group for socialisation called ‘chat and chew’. And because we’re such a large facility, we’re lucky enough to have a big community space for movie-viewing afternoons,” lifestyle coordinator Matt Daley said.

Physical exercise programs are also important for residents. Strathdon offer weekend classes for strength and balance plus chair-based movement exercises during the week with resources from Arthritis Victoria.

“For many people, their body may be ailing but their mind is still sharp and they also need the cognitive stimulation.  So we have bingo, lots of board games available and run regular quizzes.”

Mr Daley has been at Strathdon for two-and-a-half years. For the first 12 months he was a carer ‘on the floor’, and for the last 14 months has worked as lifestyle coordinator.

“It’s about the relationships and making sure what we offer is resident-focussed. I’m passionate about it; I don’t feel like it’s a job even though it can be tiring just like any other work. The end result is working with the residents and making their time here as pleasant as possible.

“It’s very satisfying.

“Anna has been here for around 16 years – she’s one of our long-term residents. She lives in the low care hostel and is always involved in our activities; she is a lovely resident.”

Formerly Uniting Aged Care, Uniting AgeWell was renamed in October 2013. The concept of ‘ageing well’ has shaped the organisation’s strategic planning and approach to meeting the needs of residents and clients. It is one of Australia’s leading aged care providers with 2,500 dedicated staff.

The organisation’s range of services include community support to clients through care in the home, day programs, day therapy and respite programs; apartment and independent living unit accommodation; as well as services and care at 21 sites in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Northern Tasmania and Southern Tasmania.

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