Improving the Sensory and Lived Experience of People with a Disability


Improving the Sensory and Lived Experience of People with a Disability

Significant landscaping improvements are currently underway at our Supported Independent Living (SIL) site in Birrong.


The changes include a new BBQ area, a water sensory area with simulated creek, vegetable and herb gardens, a revamped communal area with shade canopy and planter boxes outside each unit.


Sensory Gardens have been found to generate countless benefits toward physical health and wellbeing, especially for people with a disability who have a range of complex support needs. The gardens and planter boxes will also provide privacy and a positive way for people to channel their energy, and the BBQ area will offer a place to gather when families visit. The improvements will enhance the lived experience of the people we support.


Sylvanvale supports people with very complex needs, and the quality of the physical environment can make a significant difference to a person’s wellbeing. In late 2017, as staff got to know the residents and understood the types of support they required, it became clear that work could be done on the physical environment to improve the experience of the people who lived at the location.


“The team advocated for changes that could make the house feel more like a home and enable the independence and engagement of the people living there” said Madeleine Gates, Project Manager, SDA and Capital Innovation.


The frontline team took the initiative and began planning; asking people with a disability what they wanted to do in their home; and engaging with families – who emerged as big advocates for the proposed changes.


“Many teams from across Sylvanvale have supported our frontline staff to make these changes happen” said Madeline.


According to Site Manager David Collins, “the end result will be an aesthetically pleasing environment with improved levels of engagement from people who live at this location. It will represent a significant outcome for the people who live at the site.”


“Everyone is very excited about the project and can’t wait to see it finished,” he continued. The work commenced in August and is scheduled for completion at the end of October 2020.

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