More Respite For Canterbury Carers
Cantabrians caring for family members with dementia will be able to take a break more easily, once two dedicated rest home respite beds are available. The Canterbury District Health Board will fund a bed at Avonlea Rest Home, Spreydon and another at Admatha Rest Home in Richmond. General Manager of Planning and Funding Carolyn Gullery said in the past carers could book unoccupied respite beds with aged care providers, when they became available.
“However it was not always a sure thing that a bed would be available for respite care,” she said.
“Now that Canterbury has two dedicated respite care funded beds available, in addition to unoccupied beds, carers of people with dementia can now book in advance, so they can take a break and have time out when they need it.” The funded beds are part of the CDHB’s Healthy Ageing Integrated Support Strategy, with its objective of ‘Ageing in Place’ – helping older people to stay in their homes for longer. Ms Gullery said being able to take a break made a real difference to the lives of carers.
“It also means that the person being cared for can stay supported by their family, in their home environment for longer. If the funded respite bed service is successful, we would like to expand it,” she said. Susan Askew, Manager of Alzheimers Canterbury said it was estimated around 5,000 people in Canterbury have dementia, the most common form of which is Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Of these, more than seventy percent are living in the community, being taken care of by family, whanau and friends,” she said.
“Day-to day care of someone with dementia can be extremely tiring and stressful, and the availability of respite is vital to the well-being of both the person with dementia and the carer.” People with dementia can have an assessment of their health care needs and respite care may be one of the services provided. Carers of family members with dementia can contact the rest homes directly to arrange respite care once this service has been approved. An assessment can be done by The Needs Assessment & Service Coordination service at The Princess Margaret Hospital or a GP can refer to this service.