A helping hand to the elderly Chesalon Services, Northern Sydney, offers life-enriching care for the frail and elderly living along Sydney’s Northern Beaches and lower North Shore. There are Day Care Centres providing social interaction and day trips; a Day Therapy Centre offering complementary personal care treatments; and Domestic Assistance for older people continuing to live at home. There are also numerous support groups and resources for carers to help them deal with their frail and elderly loved ones and those suffering from dementia.
Hope, security and comfort Chesalon, a biblical name meaning 'hope, security and comfort’, offers a friendly haven for the frail, elderly to meet, including those with early signs of dementia, while also offering welcome respite for their carers. Chesalon is also very proactive in introducing more and more support groups for carers of dementia sufferers, including the increasing problem of younger onset dementia that affects people younger than 65-years-of age. Run by Anglicare, the urban mission and community care arm of the Sydney Anglican Church, Chesalon Services assists elderly people to lead fulfilling lives, encouraging them to maintain independence, while catering for their recreational and spiritual needs. The skills of the dedicated Chesalon staff are constantly updated with on-going training in aged related issues, aged care dementia and cultural awareness. Chesalon at Frenchs Forest is the hub of administration for Chesalon’s whole Northern Sydney Region, coordinating staff and services for the Frenchs Forest, Mona Vale, Mosman and Longueville operations.
Day Care Centres Chesalon Day Care Centres operate from Mona Vale, Frenchs Forest, Mosman and Longueville, offering local elderly opportunities to socialise and interact in relaxed, safe and friendly environments. Individual needs are taken into account, with different personalities and cultural backgrounds always taken into consideration and respected. A daily program may involve a day trip to the Blue Mountains, the Art Gallery, Palm Beach or the Botanical Gardens, while a day spent at the centres instead, offer lunch, sing-a-longs, music, art, games or mind challenges. Music days and card games are just a couple of the therapies used to provide an alternative focus for individuals to maintain their mental alertness. There are also theme days to celebrate National Days of different countries, Christmas or Melbourne Cup Day.
Carer support Not only do the day centres offer activities for socialization and stimulation, they can provide a day of well-earned respite for carers. Lesley Pope, the Regional Manager of Chesalon Services for Northern Sydney, is passionate about increasing support for carers of the elderly, particularly those caring for people with dementia. She also wants to set up social support groups for carers of younger onset dementia. "We have carers in our community as young as 40 and as old as in their late 70s, caring for people with dementia in their 40s and 80s," Lesley said. "Each age, of either the carer, or their charge, presents a different problem and they need different support strategies." During World Alzheimer’s Month in September, Chesalon at Frenchs Forest will be hosting education sessions to help carers cope better with all age groups of people with dementia. "There will be day and evening sessions, so everyone will have a chance to attend,’’ Lesley said.
Day Therapy Centre At Frenchs Forest, elderly residents from Manly, Pittwater and Warringah can visit the Day Therapy Centre. The centre is an outpatient and centre-based facility for the elderly and people with dementia, providing easy access to specialised treatments. Services are one-on-one, restorative and holistic and include physiotherapy, podiatry, aromatherapy, manicures and massage. Lesley said the therapies offered might also be the only physical contact with other people the patients have. "Human touch is vital for all of us,’’ she says. "It connects us". The importance of touch for elderly people cannot be underestimated and for some of our elderly their only physical human contact is having a treatment at the Day Therapy Centre.
In-Home Care For the elderly who are housebound, socially isolated or unable to get to local Day Care Centres, Chesalon operates an In-Home service. Chesalon understands that many older homeowners want to, and indeed are determined to, continue living at home, rather than move into aged-care facilities. This can lead to social isolation and an inability to maintain their homes. Chesalon offers social interaction while providing home assistance for domestic chores and personal care. The jobs vary from vacuuming the home to washing and combing hair and sorting the household bills. "It just provides an extra pair of hands for those who are able to live independently, but find it difficult to cope with some tasks,’’ Lesley says. "Or it gives the carer time to duck out and do some shopping, or grab a coffee while we take over some of the chores". For those living at home alone, the sight of a friendly face at the door ready to help with the housework is a great and much needed relief from loneliness and social isolation.
Care and support at Chesalon Services Chesalon offers day care, therapeutic care, in-home services and respite for carers of the elderly living on the lower North Shore and Northern Beaches. Trained and dedicated staff and volunteers ensure the elderly and those with dementia in their care, either at home or at the Chesalon centres, are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve. Carers are also offered support and education to help them deal with the challenges of dementia.