When I was at university my mum was working as a Registered Nurse in a nursing home and they needed someone in the kitchen, I worked what is now considered a Food Service Assistant role.
Overseeing the Lifestyle programs of 65 Regis Aged Care Homes nationally.
When I was working in the kitchen I loved the interaction with the residents – that would be the highlight of my shift. I moved over to lifestyle pretty quickly and could see that something small in my day or fulfilling a simple request would have a massive impact in a resident’s day. After (and sometimes during) an activity the majority of residents would provide honest feedback, you knew if you were living up to their expectations or not. I love that direct feedback. There were also things that I could see operationally which had been done a particular way which was not necessary the best and most effective way to move forward. It was an industry I felt I could contribute and make positive changes in.
Every day is different; I love the fast-paced environment and enabling the homes to provide quality lifestyle programs for residents. I love taking an idea and then watching that grow across all the homes and the benefits that has to our residents. In a small way I contribute to the wellbeing of our residents and that’s really important to me. Walking through a home and seeing residents actively engaged in a program we’ve worked on is really rewarding.
It has to be the people, in seven years I’ve met some amazing residents and staff. My team are awesome and always keep me motivated and honest, nothing is ever too hard for them and they generate so much enthusiasm and ideas which becomes contagious.
Not just my role but that of the Regional Lifestyle Specialists and Lifestyle teams within the homes provide residents with the opportunity to live the best lives they can. Over the years we have been able to implement ways the lifestyle teams work smarter and are able to spend more time with the residents. The updated documentation system has provided better reporting and enables us to understand the needs of our residents more. The PIEC&S program, PARO, Music Memories, Activity Stations, Table Top Activities, Men’s Business, Esprit Café, Meaningful Outings, Resi @ Home, Volunteers and Theme Days have all played a really important part in the lives of our residents.
It’s rapid, we have had to adapt on the fly. Projects which would have previously taken us months of preparation we are rolling out in a number of days. At our homes we have had to reduce a number of programs such as outings, entertainers and volunteer visits due to the stringent access controls. This in turn has provided us with opportunities to develop new programs and link in with technology more than what we used to. Enabling residents to contact families, friends and volunteers through video calls has been significant and well received by all involved. Prior to this my role was proactive, I was able to plan and ensure processes were in place and schedules were adhered to. Now it’s reactive and often information is changing by the day, however I love the challenge.
Exercise is key. The more I can do physically the better I feel mentally.