Amana Living has introduced a new program to help older people in Perth enhance their memory and cognitive function, such as their ability to concentrate, process information or make everyday decisions.

Called MemorABLE, the program is designed by Amana Living’s clinical and therapy team and it provides one-on-one support to clients who have either been diagnosed with a form of dementia or they are experiencing memory loss. Memory loss can be caused by any number of things such as stress, lack of sleep, medication, or brain injury.

The process to access the program is simple. Clients or their next of kin can contact their Client Service Manager who will arrange for an Amana Living Occupational Therapist (OT) to visit the client in their home. The OT will assess the client to determine their suitability for the program and to understand their interests and goals.

A unique program tailored to the individual needs of the client is designed, and the activities are delivered at home by Amana Living’s home care team. An OT will regularly assess client progress to determine the impact of the program.

Kathryn Pillion is an Occupational Therapist with Amana Living. She is part of the home care team of OTs who have been delivering the MemorABLE program since February this year when it first commenced. Kathryn explains what the program can entail.

“To engage clients in meaningful activities, it’s important to spend time getting to know them so we can personalise the program based on their interests, what’s important to them, what they’re proud of, and what makes their day. It means clients get to do something they enjoy, have fun and learn new skills, while engaging their brain and re-building confidence in their own abilities.

“The activities we deliver can include memory games, cards, jigsaws or puzzles, as well hobbies like cooking, gardening and even darts. A number of my clients are also interested in writing their life story,” said Kathryn.

“Knowing the person can help to decide how to present or modify activities to better support and engage them. For example, if they enjoy gardening, it might be that they are assisted with sweeping or raking, planting, pruning, watering or cutting flowers to fill a vase.

“The program we develop is more than cognitive activities, it also includes physical, sensory and social activities to help improve the client’s overall wellbeing. Experiencing success in things they find difficult can be a great motivator and good for their self-esteem. All of this can have a positive impact on their memory too.”

Families turn to professionals like Amana Living for help as they often don’t know where to start or what to do after seeing their loved one’s memory decline. As Amana Living deeply understands the client and has a relationship with them and their family, our team is able to provide more holistic support. For instance, Amana Living can link clients to other services such as the Amana Living McCusker Nurses, as well as ordering equipment or assistive technology like brain training apps on an iPad that could be used in their MemorABLE program.

Pictured: Nick and Kim

While the program has only been operating since earlier this year, families of participating clients have already reported changes in their loved one’s overall mood, willingness to engage and try new things.

Nick Spadaccini was a bricklayer who loved his job, enjoying the interaction with people and helping others while he was out and about. He also loved his family, spending every Friday night playing cards with his many brothers - you can imagine how boisterous those card games would get!

Recently Nick’s family were concerned about how quiet Nick had become, particularly after a fall before Christmas. While Nick and his wife Vanda lead a busy life, his children suggested that Nick might need additional stimulus to help keep him engaged. The family talked to Amana Living who suggested Nick take part in the MemorABLE program.

Vanda said, “Nick’s a real people person and he used to be quite vocal, never shy to share his opinions but he’s become subdued. Exercise is good for the body but Nick needed exercise for his mind.”

Amana Living’s home care team visit Nick once a week and work with him on activities including jigsaws, card games, dominos, colouring in and alphabet puzzles. While it’s early days, Vanda says there are signs of improvement.

“Nick enjoys the girls coming to visit as it gives him more people to interact with, and I can see that he is beginning to remember things. He’s doing the games much more quickly than when he started. It’s also an enjoyable way for Nick to spend an hour and it always goes fast, which is a good sign. I’d definitely recommend it.”

MemorABLE is available to new and existing Amana Living clients and can be paid for out of home care package funds or through a fee for service arrangement. To learn more about MemorABLE, contact your Client Service Manager directly or call Amana Living on 1300 26 26 26.

Pictured: Vanda and Nick