What is a Memory Support Unit?
Specifically caters for people living with dementia
The environment is set up to support a person’s memory loss
Based on the Montessori approach
Residents are encouraged to be as independent as possible
Activities are meaningful, productive and suited to the resident.
What is your role in the Memory Support Unit?
I make sure the residents have the best quality of life possible.
I provide understanding and compassion to the residents, and their families, assist with their everyday living, personal care, nutrition, activities, and fun and laughter. I am here to help keep them independent.
What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you?
We start off by doing a check of all the residents, even if they’re still sleeping. We never wake them unless there is a real need. We then prepare the dining room, and assist the residents to get ready. In most cases the residents can shower and dress themselves with direction and reassurance, as keeping their independence is very important.
Residents can help themselves to breakfast as everything is labelled and easy accessible, and we are there to give help if needed.
We then have activities, which are very person-centred, so we have something for everyone. We do gardening, painting, jigsaws, reading, sensory games, walking groups and more! Music and dancing is very popular, so we often dance and sing along. We also have some residents that love to help with the house-keeping, including doing the dishes, laundry folding etc.
After lunch we have what we call ‘quiet time’, which helps with the amount of stimulation that the residents have each day, and after this some of the residents help us bake for afternoon tea. Then we get ready for the late afternoon and evening, and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!
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What is so special about the Providence MSU?
The unit itself is so beautiful, with lots of light and a lovely garden area. Everything is accessible to all of the residents, which helps make it feel like it’s their home.
The staff don’t wear a uniform either, which adds to that feeling of being at home. We often sit down and have a cuppa or a meal with the residents which is also really nice; they (and we) love it. The amount of care, understanding and compassion in this MSU is beautiful.
Why do you love working in the MSU?
I love being able to have that one-on-one time and building a relationship while getting to know the residents. I love knowing their backgrounds. We have a couple of real characters in here so having a giggle with them is just beautiful.
I love helping them have the quality of life they deserve. Seeing the smiles on their faces when they have achieved something they haven’t done in a while is fantastic. It’s satisfying to help them overcome a bad day and smile on the other side.
What positive changes have you seen in the residents?
The behaviours, if any, are very minimal. There is more calmness, and happiness, and residents are wanting to do things for themselves with a sense of pride and achievement. The independence they gain is amazing.