All aboard for healthy minds

A Queensland aged care home has set up a model train room with the help of Dementia Support Australia (DSA) to help residents keep their minds active.

Estia Nambour launched the pilot project to help six residents, one of whom is a retired train driver; the layout features miniature Nambour shops, a sugar cane farm, and a golf course, with more expansion in the works.

It has proven a smash hit with residents: a weekly men’s group has been set up; the home has formed connections with community groups like Sunshine Coast Model Railway Men’s Shed, Nambour Library; Nambour Genealogical Society; and it even featured on ABC TV.

According to DSA Head of Professional Services Marie Alford, the train project is one example of how the organisation works with aged care homes and health professionals on tailored programs to help residents living with dementia.

“This model train project is fun but it also has an important role of providing meaningful engagement for residents and helps bring back memories.

“We are pleased to see how the work of DSA consultants has added to the quality of life of all Estia Nambour residents, not just the identified group,” she said.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.