Mary’s story

Find out how the respite care service at Macleod Cottage provides personally-tailored support for Mary Bongailas and a well-earned break for her son, Martin.

When Martin Bongailas’ mum, Mary, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago, Martin decided to retire early to care for her. These days, Martin takes a break from his busy days with Mary when she goes to her weekly overnight respite—with the occasional three- or four-night break—at Macleod Cottage.

Macleod Cottage is one of Mercy Health’s respite homes offering personalised support for people living with dementia, so their primary carers or families can take a break and recharge.

During her stay at the Cottage, Mary likes to keep herself busy by helping in the kitchen, making her own bed or hanging out the washing. Mary, who is from a Maltese background, also enjoys listening to Maltese music and songs on an electronic tablet.

When anxiety keeps my mum awake at night, the staff at Macleod Cottage use the tablet to recite the rosary and comfort her to sleep.

Sometimes, when Mary is worried about not being at church on Sundays, staff will play mass for her on the device. And, when anxiety keeps her awake at night, Mary finds comfort listening to the recital of the rosary on the tablet.

Electronic tablets have been used in Macleod Cottage since early 2014 to provide care through content uniquely tailored to each person’s interests and life story. It’s another example of our model of care in practice.

Mary is one of many people to benefit from the initiative, which has been effective in managing complex behaviours such as anxiety and restlessness in those who are living with dementia.

Last reviewed March 26, 2019.

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