A Victorian aged care facility is using technology to help keep residents connected to loved ones and entertained during the state’s stage four coronavirus restrictions.

Residents at Mercy Place Warrnambool along the State’s Great Ocean Road are using signs and tablets to communicate with their family members during the current strict lockdown.

Among them is Mary Mason (pictured above) who wanted to tell her family how much she missed them,  and Beverley Greaves who wanted to reassure her loved ones she was keeping busy and tell them not to worry.

Mercy Place Warrnambool service manager Helen Paris said it was difficult for residents and families not to be able to see each other.

“We hope these lovely photos and messages put an extra smile on our family members’ faces and provide some additional comfort that their loved ones are happy, engaged and in good hands. Importantly, the messages also let families know that they are always in their loved one’s thoughts,” Ms Paris said.

Mercy Place Warrnambool’s lifestyle team are also keeping residents engaged during the lockdown with virtual armchair travel, talking books and daily room visits from the activity trolley which has kiosk items and quiz sheets.

Last week, the Mercy Health Foundation’s Help Us Fight Appeal provided each Mercy Place aged care home in Victoria a tablet to boost communication capability during the lockdown.

Artworks lifting resident’s spirits

A Brisbane artist is hand painting murals and creating personalised door wraps for aged care residents to brighten up their environments.

The art aims to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of aged care residents by encouraging them to recall positive memories, locations and pastimes.

Tailored Artworks and The Mural Shop owner Sharron Tancred started painting murals in aged care facilities in 2009 after being approached by Cooinda House in Kipparing, Brisbane.

“Having a career in graphic design and illustration, and recently completed courses in colour psychology and interior decorating, I was instantly hooked on how my skills could make a difference for aged care residents,” Ms Tancred told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Sharron Tancred and the mural she painted
at Blue Care Rothwell

She began door wraps in 2018 when she was introduced to printers with state-of-the-art technology, and has painted murals and personalised doors for residents at over 10 aged care facilities.

Her murals include city parks, scenic lookouts and cottages on the walls of aged care facilities including McKenzie Aged Care Group’s Buderim Views, Regis Aged Care’s Kuluin, Grange Wellington Point and Yeronga, and Blue Care’s Kenmore and Rothwell homes.

The hand painted murals and door wraps also support residents with wayfinding, spatial awareness and colour perception.

“We all know that wayfinding is a massive problem. Shiny surfaces, limited use of colour and a lack of room privacy are added stress factors. It can be difficult to avoid stress and confusion at doors that residents are not permitted to enter,” she said.

“Most importantly, the overall benefit is to give residents purpose, energy and memory cues.”

The door wraps are natural looking with no plastic shine, free of toxins, washable with water and easy to install and remove.

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