Innovative concept

By Benalla Ensign

Benalla’s Cooinda aged-care facility is transforming and combining two of its buildings into an innovative and much-needed community dementia home, Samaria House.

The new community home will offer up to 10 people living with dementia the opportunity to live in a secure, home-like setting, with some care supports.

Samaria House is being created by linking renovated hostel accommodation, comprising individual bedrooms with an ensuite, to an open-plan independent living unit via a new, fully covered, fitted and furnished walkway.

The home will offer people living with dementia the opportunity to undertake activities, such as cooking, cleaning and doing their own laundry with some assistance, similar to living in their own home.

Care of people living with dementia is an important consideration in the aged-care and health sector.

In Benalla in 2013 there were 982 people living with dementia and by 2050, this is predicted to have risen to 2994.

Cooinda Board president Colin McDonald said planning appropriate and supportive accommodation for people living with dementia was an important consideration for the board at this time.

‘‘At Cooinda we are very committed to looking to the future and ensuring Cooinda is prepared to provide the best care to the Benalla community, which is less institutionalised and based on home-type living,’’ Mr McDonald said.

‘‘Samaria House and specific accommodation for people living with dementia has been in the planning for some time.’’

Cooinda chief executive Margaret Aldous said she was delighted Cooinda had the opportunity to create a home-like setting for people living with dementia.

‘‘Research indicates that people living with symptoms of dementia wish to maintain as much independence as possible and to remain active and socially engaged with family, friends and the community,’’ Ms Aldous said.

‘‘A component of this is the opportunity to do all they can to care for themselves.

‘‘Our trained care staff will be in the home, supporting people’s independence where needed.

‘‘The open-plan kitchen, dining and lounge room care model is very much a new, exciting initiative for Benalla, offering the people living in Samaria House a feeling of empowerment.’’

●You can find out more information regarding Samaria House by phoning Cooinda on 57613300 or visiting