At Group Homes Australia, we believe that the environment is a contributing therapeutic factor for someone living with dementia. If the environment is too big, it can be overstimulating and disabling, causing the person living with dementia to feel vulnerable. Whereas a small-scale environment has many benefits. Alzheimer’s Disease International delivered the World Alzheimer’s Report this year, called “Design, Dignity, Dementia”. In this report, it shares 10 best practice principles that help a person living with dementia to live well. Since 2012, GHA has been living and breathing these principles in our homes.
One of the principles of design for people living with dementia highlighted in the 2020 report is “providing a human scale”. This has 3 key elements to it: “The number of people that a person will encounter in the environment, the size of the building, and lastly the size of the individual components such as rooms and corridors”(World Alzheimer Report 2020). At Group homes Australia, our residents live in small homes with 6-10 residents and Homemakers providing care 24hrs a day. We don’t have long corridors or large dining areas, everything in a GHA home is made to look, feel, smell and sound like a real home.
Rather than walking out of a bedroom and into a long corridor that leads to a large lounge space with large amounts of people, our homes are specifically designed to ensure that residents walk out of their rooms into a space that is familiar and engaging. Our homes are designed with the centre of the home creating a buzz for residents to get involved in daily life. For example, a resident may walk out of their room and smell baking, then take a short wander into the kitchen and be prompted to help a Homemaker cook or bake. The environment is friendly and familiar. The people they encounter are residents and Homemakers they are familiar with. We don’t have a large number of staff walking through the homes, but rather a dedicated group of Homemakers that the residents know well.
Each room in a GHA home is what the report would define as human scale, but at GHA we would define it as just a regular home, where you find comfort and warmth in the space, without the intimidation.
If we can assist with answering any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Resident Relations Manager for support on 1300 015 406 or email Group Homes Australia Home Support Office. The Group Homes Australia (GHA) care model is firmly built on the belief that people living with dementia thrive in a home environment. GHA homes are ordinary homes, on ordinary suburban streets, where 6 to 10 residents live together. Residents have 24-hour care, provided by a team of staff that we call ‘Homemakers’.