Alzheimer’s WA set to expand respite care at Albany’s Hawthorn House with new building

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Alzheimer’s WA Hawthorn House team leader Lorraine Benson, Jeanette Whitington, Shirley Turner and Murni Wright.
Camera IconAlzheimer’s WA Hawthorn House team leader Lorraine Benson, Jeanette Whitington, Shirley Turner and Murni Wright. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Alzheimer’s WA is set to expand its overnight respite care in the Great Southern with an upgrade of Albany’s Hawthorn House.

Hawthorn House provides a home away from home for people living with dementia from across the region, currently offering connection, support and activities for clients and their families.

Hawthorn House provides day clubs six days a week, overnight respite, in-home respite, carer support, an Indigenous program, art and craft groups, and home care packages.

On a visit to Albany’s Hawthorn House last week, Alzheimer’s WA chair Warren Harding revealed the plans to build a new four-bedroom cottage for overnight respite care within the next 18 months.

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“We are looking at extending our overnight respite at Hawthorn House with a significant build that has got support from the Great Southern Development Commission as well as a private benefactor ... which will be really important for not only those living with dementia but certainly for family and carers that need that respite,” he said.

“We are already booked out until April so the four-bedroom cottage will make a big difference to servicing the Great Southern.

“And we want to make sure it is expandable, so as the prevalence of dementia increases in the Great Southern we are able to provide the respite that we do along with all the other services.”

Mr Harding said dementia diagnosis in the Great Southern was disproportionately higher than the rest of the State.

“Diagnosis of dementia is really, really daunting for many people and particularly those that might live in outer metropolitan or regional locations because of that isolation and the lack of services,” he said.

“We are acutely aware that in Albany 27 per cent of the population is over 65 years old.

“We think that translates to over 7 per cent are likely to either be living or will live with dementia and that is a really significant prevalence.”

Mr Harding said the latest research findings from the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing suggest a doubling of dementia prevalence by 2050.

It is currently the leading cause of death for women in Australia and second leading cause of death for men.

“And so that is a real challenge for communities to become dementia friendly and underlines the importance of what Hawthorn House can play for the Great Southern,” he said.

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