Promoting positive ageing in our nursing home - and winning awards!

Anne Wicks is St Louis’ Social Programs Coordinator at our nursing home residence in Parkside. At the recent Diversional & Recreational Therapy Association Conference on the Gold Coast, Anne won the 2019 DRTA Award for Excellence.

Anne’s passion for supporting our residents in aged care to live a high quality of life has been an inspiration to our industry and a shining example of supporting our elderly community to age with dignity, respect and compassion.

She has helped many residents achieve dreams by going the extra mile to make them possible. She has arranged motorbike rides, aeroplane adventures, ladies’ trips to Kangaroo Island, laps of the Clipsal track and more. Her passion is encouraging our residents to participate as much as possible in life, no matter what their situation.

The St Louis Swimming Program

Her most recent initiative was the St Louis Swimming Program. It began last year when one of our residents who has advanced dementia, told Anne that she used to be a synchronised swimmer and loved being in the water.

Anne set about planning a swimming program for our residents at State Swim, Glen Osmond, which had the necessary facilities. The aim of the program was to take residents and clients, who were not able to organise swimming for themselves due to disability, dementia or another cause, back into the water. The reasons were not for rehab or physio, but simply for the sheer pleasure of being in the water.

The program now takes a small group of residents to the swimming centre on a regular basis. Wendy who is a St Louis carer, also happens to be a qualified swimming instructor and she is in the water with each person one on one, for about 20 minutes. The residents who take part in the program are between 67 to 101 years old.

The inspiring results we have seen

We have seen what some would call miracles occur in the pool. There have been substantial improvements in mobility, social connection, and visible cognitive improvements including short term memory gain and speech. It has been nothing short of amazing for our residents as well as our staff who did not expect to see such benefits.

A full aerobics class

One of our residents has been able to complete a 45 minute aerobics class and has improved her social skills, making new friends in her classes. Social interaction is encouraged at St Louis, we consider this a key aspect of positive ageing.

Walking on water

It could almost be walking on water for one of our residents, who has had a stroke and is wheelchair bound. He can only take a few steps while being supported. In the water, he is able to walk unaided, and this has boosted his confidence significantly.

Standing on her own two legs

Another resident normally requires the support of two carers to help her stand up. In the water however she is able to stand on her own.

Finding words

A resident who has advanced dementia with very little short term memory has been able to remember people’s faces and names as well as being able to recollect words and answer questions. Outside the water, she has not been able to do this.

We don’t always understand the magic of water, but this is what we have witnessed. There are many more residents whose experience of the swimming program has given them a new sense of life and wellbeing.

Anne Wicks, St Louis Aged Care – winner of the Diversional & Recreational Therapy Award 2019!

Anne Wicks was selected as 1 of 5 finalists Australia-wide for the St Louis residents' swimming program, in the Diversional & Recreational Therapy Association 2019 Award for Excellence. Last week at their annual conference on the Gold Coast, the DRT Association awarded their annual 2019 DRT award to Anne, as someone who has exhibited excellence in DRT practice, contributing to the wellbeing of the individual and community.

We are proud that our staff step up and take leadership in this industry, and the feedback from residents inspires us to continue supporting these initiatives.

Call St Louis Nursing Home – over 70 years of caring for the elderly in Adelaide

Call us on 08 8272 3344 for a confidential conversation about a loved one who may be needing residential care. You can arrange a visit to

The St Louis nursing home team looks after our close-knit 'family' of 45 residents, providing experienced, individualised and around-the-clock care and, importantly, warmth and companionship. We work together with our residents and their families to identify individual care needs to develop a tailored program of care that also incorporates various social and lifestyle activities to promote greater health and well-being.

Our nursing home is an accredited 'extra-service' care home, which means we have been recognised by the Australian Government as providing the highest level of care.

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