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Community engagement and integration: Aria Gardens

Community engagement and integration: Aria Gardens

What is Aria Gardens?

Aria Gardens is an aged residential care provider in Albany, Auckland providing three levels of care – rest home care, dementia care and hospital care. Its vision is to provide a home where people live in dignity where the environment enhances and maximises independence and where there is respect for people’s cultural, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical wellbeing.

Why is community engagement and integration important?

As our society becomes more disparate, older generations are in jeopardy of becoming both socially and generationally isolated. This is more likely for elders residing in residential aged care facilities where independence, community involvement and decision making opportunities may become more diminished.

What have we done?

We have developed a strategy for community integration and engagement which is based on four foundation platforms:

  • Organisational Social Conscience
  • Empowerment of Residents
  • Collaborative Family Involvement
  • Community Education

Four foundation platforms for Community Engagement

Platform 1 - Development of our organisational social conscience

Goal: Being a good neighbour and giving back to society


  1. Supporting a worthy cause – we have formally adopted Plunket as our charity. This is helping us to bridge the inter-generational gap.
  2. Supporting other community organisations, eg Aria Gardens Annual Challenge Cup at Silverdale Lawn Bowling Club

Plunket fundraising events

Platform 2 - Empowerment of our residents


  1. Involvement in recruitment
    If a person is going to be cared for by another, they have the right to choose who that individual will be
  2. Involvement in service planning and delivery
    If a person is going to receive a service, they have the right to participate in the review and development of that service

Platform 3 - Collaborative family involvement

Goal: A collaborative approach to holistic, resident-centric care

The 'Collaborative Care Approach'

  1. Family notes, care plans and progress sheets
  2. Family based interventions
  3. A consistent approach to family visiting
  4. Valuable insights from a family perspective

example of family care plan
Examples of family care plans

Example of family progress notes
Example of family progress notes

Platform 4 - Community education: part 1

Adopt-a-Grandparent (phase 1)

Aria Gardens connected with Albany Primary School to run an initiative with their 9 and 10 year old students and interested residents. Students adopted a grandparent for a 6 month period. This was a structured educational initiative, underpinned by experiential learning for both generational groups [view more about the Adopt-a-Grandparent initiative].

The students were provided with formal education on:

  • Adopt-a-grandparentThe aging process
  • Relationship building
  • Recognising and challenging negative stereotyping
  • Cognitive and physical impairment
  • Social isolation
  • Barriers to effective communication, and effective communication skills
  • Death and dying

Primary Pals (phase 2)

Every resident at Aria Gardens receives correspondence from a primary school child once a quarter. The letters provide information about contemporary issues affecting school children, their lives in a modern society, and include a focus on a quarterly topic.

Family education

The Family Members Coffee Club has been developed to provide [insert image]:

  • an educational forum
  • a social networking opportunity
  • peer support

Aria Family Members Coffee Club

Platform 4 - Community education: part 2

Local, national and industry media

Raising awareness about issues relating to the older generation through publications in relevant websites and magazines, etc.

Did we make a difference?

Through our unique initiatives within New Zealand and worldwide we are:

  • changing practice and attitudes across the New Zealand Aged Care Industry
  • providing companionship for older residents as well as educating the younger generation
  • creating an inclusive and supportive environment for family members of our residents


Giving back to society

Plunket feedback

Collaborative family involvement

Collaborative family involvement feedback


Adopt-a-grandparent feedback

Where to from here?

Creativity in the community

We have a new initiative underway with students from Massey University School of English and Media Studies. Students will use their practical theatre, creative writing and media skills to deliver art projects that provide a community context towards developing creative ways around issues related to dementia, positive ageing and the arts.

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