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Production   /  Craig Dow Sainter

The Village

A radical new development in Hobart aims to turn dementia care on its head.

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Impact areas

HEALTH & WELLBEING

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Eliya Cohen

  • PRODUCER Steve Thomas

Synopsis

DURATION: 52 MINUTES

For many Australians a diagnosis of dementia will require institutionalised care at some stage. And for those who do, life often descends to a miserable succession of days blurred by chemical restraint and lack of stimulation, attended to by people who have neither the time or skills to change the situation.

Korongee, a brand new facility in a working-class northern suburb of Hobart, combines the best dementia care practices from around the planet with some new and revolutionary ideas. Like focussing on the individual and their life experiences as the basis for their future care.

At Korongee, residents live in houses grouped on the basis of their past lives. The six ‘lifestyle’ sets used in the Village - nurturer, moderate, individualist, provider, idealist and executive – are based on the rhythms of a person’s life and their core beliefs. And just like the suburbs they have come from, there are no covered walkways, corridors or nursing stations. If this works, it can change dementia care entirely.

We’ll use animation, re-creation and actuality to document key characters and their experiences at Korongee, sharing the stories and imagery of their past and getting to know the whole person, whether they’re residents living with dementia and their families, the charismatic CEO or the carers who have chosen to be part of this bold experiment.

By creatively focussing on the stories and lives of the characters, we reveal Korongee’s guiding philosophy - that a person living with dementia is an individual with a rich and unique personality. But is this enough to alleviate the trauma felt by a person living with dementia, when they enter a care facility? Can carers successfully transition from conventional dementia care practices to a system where they become house managers and companions for a small number of residents? And how will this new way of caring impact on families?

Let’s find out in The Village.

Support this project

12.28% funded
  • $40,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $4,910.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • October 2021

    PROJECT ENDS
  • 27

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Donations

Natarshia Stecum $100.00
Richard Benjamin $500.00
Anonymous $100.00
Theresa Sainty $100.00
Christine Kilfoyle $2,000.00
Peter Singer $50.00
Jessica Casben $100.00
LinLin Kearney $100.00
Meg Cooper $50.00
Philippa Hutton $100.00
Debra Thurley $100.00
Jac Symmons $100.00
Maryann Howell $100.00
Ruby Thomas $100.00
Gillian Waterman $50.00
Trudy Grieve $100.00
Lynette stanton $10.00
John Gionis $100.00
Gina Gionis $100.00
Sharon Keady $100.00
Kate Gaul $100.00
Keith Farrell $100.00
Stewart Smith $100.00
Sam McMahon $100.00
Alex Dow-Sainter $100.00
Astrid Pill $100.00
Hugh Stevenson $250.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Dementia is the leading cause of death of women in Australia and the second biggest killer of all Australians. It is rated the most feared disease by Australians over 60. There are currently about five hundred thousand people in Australia living with some form of dementia. By 2050 that number will have grown to more than a million. If each person with dementia has an average of four close family members, then a significant proportion of the population will be directly impacted. It’s already proving almost impossible to care well for those currently living with the condition and unless we find a better way, the future is bleak.

Dementia care in Australia is badly broken, but it may not be beyond repair. In Tasmania, the developers of Korongee, a radical, new dementia village under construction in Hobart’s northern rust belt, are hoping to redefine the paradigm for dementia care and provide a humane and compassionate approach to caring for people living with dementia.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

We don’t just want audiences to watch The Village we want them to advocate for change. We believe that by showing a better way and leveraging the knowledge, will and significant reach of our partner organisations we can change the way we think about, and care for people with dementia. Our goal is to share a documentary which is a catalyst for change, systemic change, both in Australia and overseas. As CEO of Korongee, Lucy O’Flaherty states, “What’s at stake? Everything’s at stake."

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

It's said that a picture paints a thousand words. By documenting the Korongee experiment we hope to fast track change in dementia care. The Aged Care Royal Commission has highlighted the sad state of care in our facilities which has triggered a public outcry into the way we treat our elderly and most frail. We do not doubt the goodwill of those involved in dementia care but we also recognise that institutional change progresses at glacial pace.

By providing an exemplar of better practice and working with our partners HESTA and Wicking Dementia Research Centre that have access at all levels of the industry and government, we believe we can not only show a better way, but also drive industry and public support for rapid deployment of a new model of care. Every year more aged care facilities are being built, it is imperative that they are built from a position of enlightenment and not simply the status quo.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

The film will unashamedly use the popular media to showcase a better approach to dementia care. But the key to achieving systemic change will be the influence we can bring to bear on government regulators, developers and owners of aged care facilities so that all future facilities consider the Korongee model.

Twenty years ago, banks would happily invest in coal mines or coal fired power stations, but now public opinion has shifted and we recognise not only the harm fossil fuels inflict but that there are credible alternatives, market forces have made coal an untenable investment.

The key will be to demonstrate that there is a credible, more compassionate and economically feasible approach to dementia care that instead of 'warehousing' people with dementia, values them and provides a more personalised care service.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Our partners, HESTA and Wicking Dementia Research & Education Centre have been chosen for impact and reach. They have categorically removed themselves from any editorial input on the film allowing the Producers unencumbered creative control.

For both HESTA and Wicking, the film's objectives are their objectives – a better approach to dementia care. And it is through their collective power, knowledge and reach that we will achieve this objective.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

The actions we seek from our viewers are dependent on their role in Australian aged care whether as a consumer, worker, manager, owner or regulator. And by the film demonstrating an economically feasible and more compassionate model of care we would ask our audience take action relevant to their role in aged care in Australia.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our singular objective is change to the way dementia care is offered in Australia. The gauge of success will to a large degree be self evident by the practices adopted by aged care facilities. Realistically, this will take some years to achieve but if the Korongee model is successful it will become the norm.