Our Impact

Hastings District Respite Care


over three years to develop and implement a new dementia service model using Montessori principles.

Hastings District Respite Care (HDRC) has a 26 year history of successfully delivering respite services for people with disabilities and people with dementia in the Port Macquarie area. They operate four centrebased care facilities and in 2014 secured the lease of a new facility to be the location of their new model for dementia services. Located in the region with the second highest prevalence of dementia in NSW, HDRC has continued to expand its service offerings to support the growing number of people with dementia who live in the community.

In establishing their new facility, HDRC was interested in pioneering an environment for dementia support using Montessori concepts. Approaching this from a three year change management perspective, HDRC proposed ‘buyingin’ specific consulting expertise to create Montessori surroundings and train their staff. Two new permanent roles – the Montessori Champions – would also be created to put the training into practice, mentor the staff team and work with family carers to assist them in their home environment.

The use of Montessori methods in aged care support is demonstrating promising results in alleviating distress and encouraging older person participation, engagement and wellbeing. By focusing on a person’s capabilities and interests, these methods build on what people can still do and the strengths they retain. VFFF was interested in the innovative elements of this change management program and the thoughtful approach to staff capacity building demonstrated in the proposal. We were also reassured by Alzheimer’s Australia’s interest in Montessori principles and HDRC’s focus on integrating the support provided to older people in both their respite and home environments.

"Funding from VFFF will support HDRC to be responsive and use hands-on applications of the Montessori model to build community and individual capacity and resilience. Promoting Dementia Friendly Communities and de-stigmatising dementia is our goal. Our work will focus on carers and our staff and how they can develop a dynamic approach to dementia care at home or in the community at large that enhances the quality of life for people living with dementia."

Hastings 3


  • Thriving People and Places
  • Working together on new approaches
  • Core operations
  • Rural and regional
  • Over $50K - $300K
  • 3 - 5 years

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