BlueCross wins a Better Practice Award for ‘Tools for Life’ men’s club

BlueCross Monterey in Glenroy is the proud recipient of a Better Practice Award from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) for their ‘Tools for Life’ men’s club. The award will be formally presented by Nick Ryan, CEO of AACQA, at the BlueCross Extravaganza on Thursday 2 October 2014.

Research indicates that lifestyle programs in residential aged care are generally skewed to female-oriented activities given the larger proportion of females in care. Consequently these programs may not be capturing the male resident’s interests, capabilities and strengths, leading to a lack of engagement.

The Tools for Life club at BlueCross Monterey was established to address this imbalance through providing meaningful activities tailored to appeal to the interests of the males within the residence.

Laura Clarke, BlueCross Monterey Residence Manager, said, ‘Our lifestyle team wanted to make a positive difference to the male residents’ lives so we began developing the program in collaboration with them and other men’s groups in the local area.

‘We combined a person-centred philosophy with a reminiscence approach to nurture each participant’s individuality. The activities in the Tools for Life Club were designed to encourage social engagement and participation, foster sharing of knowledge and life experiences, as well as maintain and build new skills.’

The club was implemented in February 2013 as part of the lifestyle calendar with a continuous improvement methodology adopted to ensure the club continues to meet the needs of members and achieve positive outcomes.

‘The lifestyle team, residents, their families and friends have been vital in the program’s success,’ said Clarke, ‘as has been the intergenerational component of the program. Students from local schools join the group to show the residents how to use computers and the residents teach the students wood-working skills.’ 

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By providing a dedicated club where the men could come together in a group and feel respected and valued, BlueCross Monterey has been able to ultimately improve the overall wellbeing of male residents.

The club has also enabled stronger community connections and improved socialisation within the residence.

Tools for Life participants are showing increased self-esteem, independence and communication with their families. Some other key outcomes recorded include increased participation, gaining of new skills as well as physical, cognitive and mental health benefits.

As more and more men enter residential aged care, program’s such as Tools for Life are become increasingly important. The Tools for Life club is easily transferable to other residences, with evidence-based models and processes that can be adapted to suit the residents’ needs and interests at each location.

BlueCross is excited about the potential for wide-reaching positive outcomes for male residents in aged care at BlueCross and beyond, and would be happy to showcase the program to interested parties.

BlueCross Monterey is an aged care residence in the Glenroy community. Click to learn more about BlueCross Monterey.

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