George’s story: From distress and anxiety to comfort and wellbeing 

We think there’s no better way to show how different a HammondCare home is, than hearing about the stories of individual residents and their families who have experienced our care. 

georges story feature

When George first came to HammondCare he and his family had been experiencing a truly distressing time in their lives. 

As a result of progressed Alzheimer’s disease George’s family had needed to take him to a residential care facility. 

During his stay, George had become distressed and staff were not able to manage his behaviour. His sons were told that the home could no longer care for their father. 

At this point, the family, distraught, turned to HammondCare for help. In November 2016, George became the very first resident of our newly opened dementia specific care home at Wahroonga. 

From the beginning, the staff treated George as a valued individual. This is central to HammondCare’s approach to care. 

“The day of George’s admission was our first day of opening,” says Skye Marshall, Manager at HammondCare Wahroonga. “We sat down with our staff and discussed George’s background, previous lifestyle, his current needs, and the social factors that concerned him. We wanted staff to see him first and foremost as the unique individual he is, so we could tailor his care around that.” 

This focus on understanding George and his background permeated his care in very practical ways. One of the most interesting developments as a result of this, was that George assists with simple jobs in the kitchen and helps prepare food. 

This is familiar terrain for a man who has made his living in the food industry for close to thirty years. And it’s an example of how HammondCare always tries to recognise and value the unique background of each of its residents. 

HammondCare carers also accommodate George’s need to stay active. He is continually engaged during the day, whether through conversation, walks in the garden, or a spot of traditional Greek dancing. 

As a result, George steadily improved his level of well-being during his time at HammondCare Wahroonga. Although he still becomes anxious at times, the challenges that arose in his last care home have not resurfaced. 

Even better, doctors have been able to take George off the psychotropic medication he was previously prescribed. His demeanour has become more relaxed and calm. 

This is believed in part to be due to the reassuring and familiar environment created by HammondCare’s cottage model that aims to offer a greater sense of control and belonging. 

Most importantly, spending time with George has ceased to be a stressful ordeal for his family since he has moved to HammondCare Wahroonga. 

John, his son, says, “This is the best we’ve ever seen him.” 

George’s experience before HammondCare 
George’s experience after one year at HammondCare Perkins Cottage 

Distressed, unhappy, and unengaged 

More at ease, generally positive, reduced moments of anxiety 

In a large institution with many people, some of whom had dementia, others who did not 

In a small cottage apartment with only 7 other residents with a similar level of dementia 

In a residential facility not designed for someone living with dementia 

In a newly designed cottage, purpose built to minimise stress and maximise comfort for someone living with dementia 

Inactive, unengaged with daily activities, disinterested 

Involved in daily activities, including regularly assisting with jobs in the cottage kitchen, participating in dancing, and chatting with staff 

Staff unable to manage behaviour, resulting in George having to leave the previous residential care facility 

Staff have built a relationship with George over time reducing issues and anxiety 

Visits distressing for the family with low level of engagement with George 

Visits are positive for the family and George, with signs of the familiar spark he had prior to having dementia