Invercargill National MP Sarah Dowie visits Enliven secure Dementia unit (Iona) at Peacehaven Village in light of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

By PSS | Posted: Thursday September 20, 2018

In a bid to raise awareness for dementia, Peacehaven Village Manager, Karl Lamb and Iona Clinical Coordinator Julie Worner, took Sarah Dowie on an exclusive tour of the secure residential and hospital level dementia facilities at Iona, explaining what it’s like for both residents and staff dealing with dementia on a daily basis.

Iona, Peacehaven Village is the sole provider of psychogeriatric care in Southland where staff work to ensure resident care and support is of a very high quality. 

"Practical and safe ways are taken to reduce residents’ reliance on medications, particularly antipsychotics", says Julie. 

Julie explains this class of drug is often used to manage the challenging signs and symptoms of dementia but Julie and staff actively work to reduce the use of such medication, and to date, have had positive outcomes reducing the usage of these drugs by 74%, for the benefit of residents.

Quality of life is at the forefront of everything Enliven offers - there is a continuous search for new ways to enhance the well-being and improve the lives of those with dementia. 

Sarah was able to experience and understand the reasoning behind some of Iona’s innovative well-being initiatives first hand by sitting in the therapeutic sensory room, holding the robotic baby seal Paro and seeing the positive effect the restorative music enrichment programme has on the residents.

“It was heart-warming to see the work that the team at Iona are undertaking to enhance the well-being of their residents in both the residential and hospital wings. The level of care to each resident is attentive and personalised. I was impressed with the new sensory room, the enjoyment the residents received from music therapy and I could have taken Paro - the robotic seal home with me! Iona’s mantra to balance or reduce medication in combination with sensory therapy brings about a richer standard of living. The residents at Iona are very fortunate to have such caring and specialised staff who support them and their families” says Sarah.

While we can’t cure dementia, we can make the lives of the dementia residents more fulfilling and stimulating, through the use of these tools, programs and specialist quality care, explains Julie.

 “I get to dance and have fun with the residents during the musical therapy sessions; it’s great seeing the residents smile”

September is Alzheimer’s awareness month and Friday 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day.