Over the next three days I am undertaking a study tour in Copenhagen, Denmark to find out if the elderly population are as satisfied with life as the rest of the Danes who voted Denmark as one of the happiest countries to live in the world. Having held the coveted prize for a number of years, Norway has now taken the position as the world’s number one in 2017 with Denmark now taking a second position.
Nonetheless, the results are still impressive and I am keen to find our just what makes the people of Denmark so happy, and if this sense of happiness and wellbeing extends to the elderly population.
The first day of my tour started with a visit to Orestadens Plejecenter (Care Centre) in Amager. This retirement facility has a spectacular architectural build, with pod shaped balconies that are very distinct and eye catching, with its bold bright green and blue colours that stand out in the landscape.
Created by JJW Architects and built just over 5 years ago, the development consists of 114 apartments housing 120 people with multiple care needs to include dementia.
Each apartment has a sitting room, a separate bedroom, a small kitchenette and ensuite shower room. The communal facilities are plentiful with spacious lounges, activity and games rooms, gym and gardens/courtyards.
As a profile home, Orestadens specialises in arts and culture so there are plenty of examples of creative artwork throughout the development to inspire interest and spark conversation among residents and visitors alike.
Orestadens is well known in the local community and as such its facilities are also used by the local kindergarten and other community groups, who regularly visit to carry out their activities onsite, and whilst doing so engage with the people who live there.
My next visit was to Bonderupgard Care Centre in Vanlose, which consists of a day care centre attended by 140 people each week alongside a nursing home on the same site. The day centre is well attended by locals, many of whom continue to live in their own homes and visit the day centre to socialise with others, enjoy a meal together and join in with the extensive activities programme.
I was impressed to find the fully equipped gym onsite being well used by the residents, with many attending classes every morning to maintain their health and fitness.
My last visit of the day was to Egebo Plejecenter in Bronshoj. Egebo is one of a cluster of care and retirement homes within a short walk each in a residential complex. However, each home has its own particular focus of the type of service it provides.
Egebo like the other two homes I visited placed a lot of emphasis on supporting people to live as independent as is practically feasible. The set up and how staff engaged with residents was focused along the lines of improving people’s health and wellbeing in order to enable them to live life to the full as best as they could.
At all three centres, the gyms were actively used and residents were encouraged to maintain good quality of life through maintaining their fitness wherever possible. The centres worked hard in their own unique way to create a home from home experience for residents and remove the stigma of institutional living. People were encouraged to continue their interests and hobbies, take part in community life and continue to live the life they wanted in the way that was most comfortable for them.
Today evidenced many good examples of quality care in practice from all three centres and I look forward to what the remaining two days has to offer.
Edna Petzen @EdnaPetzen is director and marketing consultant at Lynden Consulting, a marketing and communications company helping health and adult social care businesses develop marketing strategy, manage their brand, improve performance and achieve communication excellence. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.