An online platform that shares cleaned and safety-checked aged care equipment with people who need it is fighting the war on waste and changing the life of Bolton Clarke At Home Support clients.
The Library of Aged Care Things is part of the One Good Street social networking initiative developed by Bolton Clarke Business Innovation Senior Strategist Matiu Bush.
More than 40 Bolton Clarke clients are already using equipment donated to the library, helping them to stay independent at home for longer. The initiative supports older people in the community, carers and family members looking after older parents, particularly those who are financially disadvantaged.
Matiu said donated equipment is distributed free of charge and is cleaned, tagged and tested before being delivered to its new owner.
“With family members often having to buy expensive equipment quickly and under pressure, this project takes some of the financial worry away,” he said.
“Families can donate pre-loved equipment they are no longer using, which means people can make their home care package funding go further and do more things they enjoy.
“Often when delivering items, our nurses and personal care workers discover the person also needs several other pieces of equipment we are able to provide. We are working with other service organisations who assist us with extra storage to prevent good quality equipment ending up in landfill. It’s a win-win situation.”
Items already donated include electric beds, mobility scooters and walkers as well as food supplements and personal care items. Residential service communities across the country can also donate goods to save them having to use-much needed space in their sites to store unused items.
Melbourne At Home Support client Maria is one example of how the library works.
Maria has cellulitis and did not have a comfortable chair to sit in and elevate her legs.
“Maria only had a small, uncomfortable chair in her lounge area that she rarely used – instead she would sit on a plastic chair in her kitchen.” Bolton Clarke social worker Anna Gleeson said.
“This was not aiding in healing in any way, even with medication and nursing attention.
“She needed a recliner chair but it would have taken years to locate the funding she needed and save for the difference in cost.
“We talked with Maria about the possibility of using a donated chair with Maria and her nursing team, and all felt this would be advantageous.
“We contacted Matiu and on the same day the Library of Aged Care Things sourced and delivered an electric recliner chair.
“Maria now sits in her chair comfortably for many hours and uses it to watch DVDs, which is a favourite pastime for her.”
The One Good Street project aims to build a participation culture in neighbourhoods and provide opportunities for communities to support older people and their carers.