Bupa Fergusson is the first Retirement Village in New Zealand to receive a dementia-friendly award, by Alzheimers New Zealand. Judy Bain, Village Manager, shares her take on how Bupa is pushing the frontiers of delivering quality health and care, particularly in caring for those living with dementia.
The number of people living with dementia globally is set to soar over the next few decades, reaching 74.7 million in 2030 and almost doubling to 131.5 million by 2050.[i] Dementia is also ranked as the fourth leading cause of death among the over 65s in New Zealand[ii],and two in three people in New Zealand are affected by dementia in some way. So, while there is no cure currently available through drugs, there is a lot each one of us can do in helping those living with dementia to live fulfilling lives.
I believe that creating a dementia-friendly society is a step in the right direction in supporting people living with dementia to be part of the wider community, and so at Bupa Fergusson we did exactly that! The retirement village is one of 36 which Bupa runs in New Zealand. We worked to create a dementia-friendly village, and we’re delighted to have been recognised as the first dementia-friendly retirement village in the entire country.
So, what we did? Using our Person First approach to aged care and dementia, which puts the individual and their needs first, we’ve helped to tailor the experience of residents living at Fergusson Village, for those with dementia and not.
It’s the simple changes that make the biggest difference. From changing signage to the dementia awareness sessions run with residents, we’ve created a warm and friendly environment which supports residents to feel independent, and we’ve enhanced the knowledge and understanding of the wider community. We’ve done this by working closely with residents and our local Alzheimers organisation, which has resulted in improvements to our village, and most importantly, benefit our residents and their families.
While not everyone living in the retirement village has dementia, as a community there’s something each of us can do to help those who are. Looking out for one another is at the heart of building a dementia-friendly society.
The work at Fergusson Village is a first win in our wider aim to building a dementia-friendly New Zealand. We hope to encourage many more people and organisations to get on board!
Bupa is one of the biggest aged care providers in the world – with over 450 care homes in the UK, Spain, Australia and New Zealand (plus one in Poland). We also have over 60 retirement villages in New Zealand and the UK, as well as under construction in Australia. In New Zealand, two retirement villages in Rotorua will be looking to apply for the recognised dementia-friendly status as part of wider plans to make the region of Rotorua dementia-friendly society.