Technology to enhance lives
Technology touches all our lives. At Opal, we are continuously looking at ways that technology in aged care can enhance the lives of our residents by providing opportunities for engaging entertainment and maintaining important family and community connections.
During the recent restricted access we accelerated our technology program and are successfully using a variety of different applications for telehealth consultations with doctors, and for virtual visits between residents and their families. We have rolled out Zoom across our homes, undertaken hours of Zoom training with our team and are truly evolving the nature of our social connections.
We began trialing ROMPA® interactive projectors in a number of our homes in 2019 and it was such a success that this Augmented Reality device is now being rolled out across all our care communities during 2020. These immersive sensory devices enable a whole world of opportunities for people to interact alone or in a group environment. The dynamic displays are controlled using gestures and movements by participants, enabling opportunities for learning, imagination, reminiscence, and interaction with others.
As people age, they become more dependent on others and their horizons may narrow, which can have an impact on wellbeing. Virtual reality technology gives our residents the chance to experience activities and destinations they may not otherwise be able to. We’ve been able to create a library of amazing experiences, which everyone can enjoy from the comfort of an armchair, as part of our daily lifestyle program.
Many people love interacting with animals. Just a few minutes of connecting with an animal triggers an amazing reaction in the body which lowers stress hormones, and increases feel-good hormones. But what happens when there’s no furry friend around to provide much needed comfort? That’s when electronic companion animals really come into their own. Also known as ePets, they come in a number of different forms and look and feel remarkably lifelike, responding to touch in much the same way as a real animal. Each of our homes has their own special family of electronic cats and dogs which bring comfort to many of our residents, particularly those living with dementia.
We look for innovative ways to bring reminiscence to life for our residents and at Opal Blacktown we transformed a room into a vintage train carriage for residents to enjoy, whilst showing a video of mixed media to enhance the experience. Recalling and reflecting upon important events and memories helps to link the past to the present.
Commonly asked questions about Aged Care
Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.
Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.
Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.
The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.
Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home
- Basic Daily Care Fee (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every home in Australia.
- Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.
- Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation) These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home.In some homes, Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in other homes, residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry
For further information download our 5 step guide.