Mary’s story

When anxiety keeps mum awake at night, staff use the tablet to recite the rosary and comfort her to sleep.

When Martin Bongailas’ mum, Mary, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago, Martin decided to retire early to care for her. Martin takes a break from his busy days when Mary goes to her weekly overnight respite and the occasional three or four-night break at Macleod Cottage, one of Southern Cross Care (Vic)’s respite homes supporting people living with dementia.

During her stay at the Cottage, Mary likes to keep herself busy by helping in the kitchen, making her own bed or hanging out the washing. Mary, who is from a Maltese background, also enjoys listening to Maltese music and songs on an electronic tablet. When she is worried about not being at church on Sundays, staff will play mass on the device. And when anxiety keeps her awake at night, Mary finds comfort listening to the recital of the rosary on the tablet.

Southern Cross Care commenced trialling the use of electronic tablets at Macleod Cottage in early 2014. Mary is one of the many clients who has benefitted from the initiative, which has been effective in managing complex behaviours such as anxiety and restlessness in people who are living with dementia.

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