Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    Canberra pioneers new aged care model
    Aged Care

    Canberra pioneers new aged care model

    A revolutionary aged care ‘home model’ in Canberra is radically transforming the sector – no uniforms, staff can bring their kids or pets, and the ratio of registered nurses to residents with early onset dementia is 1:3, the Canberra Weekly reports.

    So confident is the co-founder, Dr Rodney Jilek, that he gave $100,000 to the University of Canberra to fund a PhD student to study his model. He also spent $1.5 million of his own money on a house in Greenway to kickstart the not-for-profit venture. He leases three other houses – two in the ACT, in Gordon and Monash, and one in Nelligen NSW.

    Dr Jilek and co-founder Nicole Smith, both registered nurses, are starting a new “it takes a village” movement.

    “The old aged care sector is broken but it’s still making money and people are hesitant to give up their old ways,” Ms Smith says.

    “We create a supportive village around people’s dementia and we hold them close all the way to the end, all the way to palliative care. So, once you’re in our fold, we don’t let you go. We nurture you through that whole time.”

    For 65-year-old Canberran Hector Steele, who used to be a strapper for the Canberra Raiders and head mechanic for Transport Canberra, living with dementia made him realise “I’m not what I think I am”.

    Mr Steele loves the intergenerational programs run by Community Home Canberra and adores his “adopted” grandkids. Dr Jilek is modest about his philanthropy, saying he’s “just the enabler”.


    A rebellion against aged care system takes hold in Canberra (Canberra Weekly)


    Hector Steele, 65, who has early onset dementia ,and co-founder of Community Home Australia, Nicole Smith.