‘The team at NCS were absolutely amazing’.  I have so much faith in their ability . . . right from the beginning Mike knew what we were trying to do.’

In a first in New Zealand, innovative technology will give dementia residents at Whare Aroha Care’s new village freedom and movement.

The Ngongotaha-based dementia-friendly village has 13 homes, and when all stages are complete, will include a supermarket, cafe, hairdresser and clubrooms. It is set to open at the end of August.

Therese Jeffs, Chief Executive at Whare Aroha Care, said the technology was always going to be key to the village.

“It’s a move away from the institutional model to a health model, it’s the way forward for caring for our elderly.”

A combination of wired and wireless nurse call, security, CCTV, access control and communications technologies means the only external door will open solely for residents deemed safe to leave the village.

The residents who would not be safe will wear a wrist-band, similar to a watch, which makes the door self-lock.

“The door will open for those who don’t need the secure solutions… the wrist band is unobtrusive and won’t be heavy. It can’t be cut off,” Mrs Jeffs said.

The monitoring software will also let the nurses know when residents are in the communal lounge or their whereabouts in their own home.

In every home, a sensor will be installed alongside each bed, alerting staff when a resident gets up in the night, and depending on the resident the staff will respond immediately.

Mrs Jeffs said the technology would ensure quality of care, while giving all residents the ability to move around the facility, “so they can be involved in daily life and safer in their environment”.

The technology was developed by communications technology experts NCS.

Mike Dillon, director at NCS, said the technology all came about from the clients’ needs.

“Nurses can respond a lot quicker, and it can prevent a lot of falls and accidents.”

Mr Dillon said he had enjoyed the project.

“What Whare Aroha Care are doing is totally different from anything anyone else is doing in New Zealand . . . it’s great to see, it’s been a challenge.”

The team at NCS were “absolutely amazing”, Mrs Jeffs said.

“I have so much faith in their ability… right from the beginning Mike knew what we were trying to do.”

Mrs Jeffs said it was exciting to have the dream actualised but there were nerves in getting everything ready in time, especially as the opening had been moved from October to August.

The dementia-friendly village will be the first one to open in New Zealand, and the first of its kind outside of the internationally acclaimed De Hogeweyk in the Netherlands.

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