The Beach of Life for Aged Bundy Residents

When they can’t visit the beach, residents of an elderly care community in Bundaberg are brought the ocean.

Carinity Kepnock Grove Elderly Care Staff have devised innovative ways for seniors to experience the seaside, from the comfort of their own homes.

Carinity diversionary therapist Danielle Gibbs said one popular activity is “beach combing,” a sensory experience where residents sift through a miniature display on the beach for hidden items.

Carinity Kepnock Grove resident Maureen Irwin with items collected during a beach combing sensory activity at Bundaberg Aged Care Community.

“The activity involves residents sifting through sand and water to find a variety of objects that can be found on the beach, such as different seashells, plants, rocks and sea animals. They also search for buried treasures like necklaces, bracelets and rings,” Danielle said.

“I thought it would be a great activity for the residents as many of them grew up around our beaches. The response from the residents was great; they were keen to be involved.

Danielle said sensory activities such as combing on the beach have therapeutic benefits for older people, especially those with dementia.

“Often people with dementia can lose the connections they have around them, so it’s important to provide activities that offer the opportunity to engage in memory recall and cognitive stimulation, to create a social connection and to provide a variety of sensory opportunities. Using everyday objects and experiences can trigger positive feelings, emotions and memories,” Danielle said.

“The feel of sand and water on their hands, the sound of water splashing, finding seashells and holding them to their ears and ‘listening to the ocean’. Beach combing is a great individual activity that helps behaviors as it has a calming effect.

Residents Judy and Tony Rollitt enjoy a beach-themed event at Carinity Kepnock Grove aged care center in Bundaberg
Residents Judy and Tony Rollitt enjoy a Hawaiian-themed event at Carinity Kepnock Grove Aged Care Center.

Sensory activities also help to stimulate the memory of older residents, which can improve their well-being.

“While doing the beach combing activity, several residents reminisced about their experiences at the beach: what they did at the beach, the family members who were with them, and some of the fun and glad they spent there,” Danielle said.

Other ocean-related activities at Carinity Kepnock Grove have included residents using virtual reality goggles to experience adventures such as reef snorkeling and spotting tropical fish in the Brain Trainer Plus computer program to promote cognitive stimulation.

Regular theme days include the Hawaiian Beach Party, held in a dining hall transformed into an underwater oasis with a sensory reef, tropical food and an interactive photo booth where residents can feel the beach sand on their feet.

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