A ground-breaking new option in the way people living with dementia are cared for has officially been opened.
The official opening of Harbison Dementia Living in Burradoo was made by the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC in an official red ribbon ceremony.
CEO of Harbison, David Cochran showed Ms Beazley around the new facility and spoke of the possibilities this new building will create.
"Harbison Dementia Living will change the way we think about dementia," Mr Cochran said.
"Our model is based on the proven butterfly model of dementia care - providing a home-like experience to support the independence, safety and comfort of people living with dementia who can no longer live at home.
"Our residents are encouraged and supported to participate in normal daily activities including cooking, gardening and doing the laundry. Being involved in familiar activities promotes a sense of wellbeing and independence."
Dementia may rob you of your memories or cognitive ability, but it doesn't rob you of your feelings.CEO of Harbison, David Cochran.
The new home consists of two separate households, capable of housing 15 people living with dementia in each. The major point of difference is that Harbison Dementia Living is designed like a large country home located in specially designed dementia-friendly gardens.
"It appears as a regular home," Mr Cochran said.
"But the clever use of technology ensures the best care for our residents while maintaining a home-like environment.
"The building incorporates modern, unobtrusive safety systems including an Australian-first 'smart' floor that can detect falls, spills and movement."
Before the cutting of the red ribbon to declare the facility open, Ms Beazley spoke with Harbison residents and then took to the podium to thank everyone who was a part of the process.
"Harbison has a long history" Ms Beazley said.
"As I've walked around here today, I've noticed after talking to people, this was all the start of someone's imagination and it came to fruition.
"That's what came back to my mind today. You now have the building that was once an in an architect and builders mind.
"Congratulations on this fantastic new facility."
As the ceremony drew to a close, David Cochran explained what this disease can do to a person and how Harbison is ready to take on dementia.
"The guiding principle of our model of care is that feelings matter most," Mr Cochran said.
"Dementia may rob you of your memories or cognitive ability, but it doesn't rob you of your feelings.
"Harbison carers are trained to make emotional connections with people and 'do living' together, rather than relying on outdated task-based schedules.
"Harbison Dementia Living is more than just a place for people to reside, it's a place to live.
"Dementia is a rapidly growing challenge and Harbison chooses to take on the challenge. We encourage people to become better educated about dementia to ensure the Southern Highlands becomes a more dementia friendly community."
Harbison is a community-owned organisation, which has been dedicated to providing age care services to the Southern Highlands for over 60 years.