Why Cognitive Preservation in Aged Care is Essential for Organisational Agility

Why Cognitive Preservation in Aged Care is ESSENTIAL for Organisational Agility?

Written by Kirsty Porter | 14 August 2016
• Nurse and Aged Care Enthusiast •



The rules for the aged care sector are changing.  Government funding models are more and more politically and fiscally motivated, and aged care organisations are constantly finding themselves riding the wave of uncertainty and change.


This is exhausting for some aged care organisation, and detrimental to others as organisation policy makers try to balance cost and business efficiencies.

So, in the interest of assisting with policy development to make your organisation more agile, I have created this post to reflect on three things;

• Why remodelling your aged care model to include cognitive preservation strategies will increase organisational agility.
• What five principles establishes cognitive preservation.
• How can these translate in an aged care environment.


What does organisational agility mean for an aged care service?


It’s about remaining competitive even when your dynamic external environment is disrupted, such as funding streams.  Organisations who embrace change and are flexible to the disruptions in their environment are considered agile, and in turn excel in their fields. 


Often, when policies are written for aged care environments, we draw from government strategies, regulatory guidelines and whitepapers to help create the best quality services and policies for our ageing residents or clients.


Of course these governing strategies and regulations propose the highest quality of aged care, but in the market place it creates a vortex of similarities between one organisation and another; making it more challenging for the customers to differentiate which aged care service is best or right for them. As a result, organisational agility becomes almost impossible to achieve.

choosing aged care
Adapted by Kirsty Porter. Sourced: Pixabay

However, there is one transformational concept that is challenging the way brain health policies in aged care facilities are modelling and implemented. It’s called the Cognitive Footprint concept (read more), and it’s weighted heavily towards preserving cognitive health and function, and delay the onset of cognitive decline, especially in people exhibiting early signs of dementia symptoms.


Until there is a cure, worldwide experts of Alzheimer’s disease, such as the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) and World Innovation Summit for Health (W.I.S.H), recommend health care organisations implement proven cognitive preservation strategies in an effort to reduce the incidence of the global dementia epidemic.


Cognitive impairment, like what we see in Alzheimer’s disease, can be delayed if cognitive preservation strategies are implemented (Ngandu, et al, 2015). This is especially important when modelling your aged care service for funding efficiencies, particularly when considering costs associated to achieving good behaviour management outcomes; important for all dementia care models.  


Recognised cognitive preservation principles include;


• Intensive and frequent physical activity (to modify hypertension, inactivity and sarcopenia)
• Good nutrition (to modify diabetes and obesity),
• Education and learning (creating new neutron pathways),
• Frequent and consistent social interaction, and
• Mental health awareness (to modify depression).

(W.H.O 2012, W.I.S.H 2015, Rossor & Knapp 2015)

Rosser and Knapp (2015) refer to these cognitive preservation principles as key to defining your Cognitive Footprint and how we model dementia globally.   Read more about the Cognitive Footprint Model here .

While very few countries are enacting these principles into their national aged care strategy, those aged care organisations who are already proactive in implementing them are naturally becoming agile and marginally unaffected by the changing dynamics in their external environment, such as; government funding reallocation policies and the increasing demands of an ageing population.  (Read here about an aged care facility actively excelling in this).


Translating cognitive preservation research into a woking program


The aged care-funding environment is based on outcomes of quality business efficiencies; therefore organisations must incorporate assistive technology and progressive concepts to remain in the game. And certainly, this next wave of elders, such as the boom generation, is significantly more tech savvy and environmentally aware.  


The Society of Saint Hilarion Inc. Aged Care, in Australia has already incorporated these recommendations by W. H. O. and W.I.S.H; and their results are stunning.  Their Wellness Centre Program, incorporates new assistive technology and progressive program innovation, that has not only generated national recognition and industry awards, but is now considered a blueprint for other care provides. Their cognitive strategies include;


• A Wellness Centre accessed by residents, staff, families and the community;
• Older aged specific interactive gym technology with dedicated allied health professionals;
• On-site resident managed and maintained vegetable and herb gardens;
• Organic home-grown produce incorporated into meal menus;
• Psychology and wellness programs for residents, staff, and all their families.

winning active ageing wellness
Source Pixabay.com & adapted by Kirsty Porter


Exhaustive enough? Expensive even? Read my article about The Society of Saint Hilarion Inc. and how their proactivity for cognitive health propelled them towards a more self-sufficient business model, and thus introduced extraordinary organisational agility. 




Written By Kirsty Porter
Who is Kirsty Porter and Why has she created The Age of Senescence?

Feature Photo: Pixabay.com & adapted by Kirsty Porter


I love hearing about new aged care innovation, send me a message and tell me about it so I can follow your journey.


Please comment below - 

Has this article created conversation within your aged care service?  

How has incorporating cognitive preservation principles given your organisation a competitive edge?

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AgeFit Solutions are leaders in exercise physiology for older adults.

They help aged care providers re-modeling and innovate wellness options for their clients or staff.

 They have  A LOT of experience in transforming aged care
environments for cognitive health options!


I've prepared a fun video giving you a little more information.
Click the photo to get the video.

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