“To work in aged care and be part of the lives of our most vulnerable, you need empathy and to always keep in mind that you are working in their home, they are not living at your work,” Juanita Baker.  

A total of two wins and runner-up, it’s goes without saying that Juanita Baker shone brightly at the 2021 National Regis Care Awards in November! With a win for ‘Initiative or Innovation of the Year’, ‘Outstanding Home Services’ and a finalist for ‘Service Excellence’ the Regis community applauded the impact she made to the lives of residents at Regis Elermore Vale. 

Juanita joined the Regis Elermore Vale family in late 2017. Stepping into the role of Lifestyle Coordinator, she very quickly made her mark. Juanita’s motivation to make an impact blossomed from her value of always having great respect for the older generation. She explains this was her way to give back in an environment that was rewarding for residents and her.  

“I absolutely love my role and love that I can positively influence our residents’ days and assist them to not just exist but encourage them to live their lives as full as possible and enhance their overall wellbeing. I love my team at Elermore vale; they are so supportive, even when I have crazy ideas – they just go along with it. Regis is a supportive organisation to work for and I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given.”  

Juanita begins her day at Regis Elermore Vale by walking around the Home and checking in on residents in all four wings. Her priority is to ensure they are happy and engaged in their daily activities and facilitates connection and conversation with their loved ones and community. When Juanita isn’t interacting with residents, you will find her creating calendars, newsletters and event days.  

When asked what Juanita likes about supporting our older generation, she responds warmly, “I like being able to put a smile on their face and help them forget where they are or that it isn’t so bad being in a home. Giving them a purpose and encouraging them to do things they thought they couldn’t ever do again is so valuable.  I love listening to their stories and hearing how they grew up in a time that is so different to ours. Building connections with people who no longer have loved ones is a privilege and an honour.” 

With respect, dignity, compassion, Juanita performs her duties in the Home. It’s no wonder why she was an awards recipient in the National Regis Care Awards. So, what did it mean to be nominated?  

“To be a winner in the National Regis Care Awards was so humbling and overwhelming. I was extremely honoured and it still feels quite surreal. There are so many people that do amazing work at Regis and to take first place in one category was incredible. To receive first place in two categories was quite an emotional experience.  

I am immensely proud of the efforts of our Home in 2021 and the awards were the icing on the cake for us all! We celebrated with an afternoon of champagne and delicious food along with lots of happy tears and singing.” 


The Initiative or Innovation of the Year: Juanita Baker created the Armchair Travel initiative which sees residents have a cultural experience by visiting a new country each month, enjoy the cuisine of the country, have ‘in-flight’ snacks, and participate in country-specific activities to learn about diverse cultures. Juanita has gone the extra mile to transform the room to resemble being on a plane, they have plane windows to look outside, headrests, and a tray of plane food. Juanita has even personalised individual passports for each resident which includes a photo and gets stamped on each adventure. 

The immersive experience of travelling to different countries and learning about the culture, food and people has been one that has made a significant difference to the cultural diversity in the Home. Residents are engaged and learning about cultural awareness is something that has made the Elermore Vale Home an even more welcoming and inclusive environment for all. 

Armchair travel has had a hugely positive impact on residents, employees and the entire Regis community. This story was Regis’ most shared social media post, reaching over 2,000,000 people globally, and receiving over 100,000 reactions, comments and shares. 

The Outstanding Home Services award: Juanita Baker is a Lifestyle Coordinator and a valued member of the Regis Elermore Vale team. Juanita is dedicated to the residents, team and families at Elermore Vale, and provides an evolving, engaging lifestyle program, which is always designed around the resident’s needs, feedback and suggestions. From extraordinary events and activities with every level of detail covered, to a cup of tea with a resident, Juanita is known to enrich lives and make a difference to the community at Elermore Vale. Juanita puts a lot of time in her Lifestyle Program at Elermore Vale, but also demonstrates her commitment by supporting her team and colleagues across Regis. This includes holding employee appreciation days, organising care packages, poems, or being available for a chat. During the COVID-19 outbreaks in New South Wales, Juanita made up a package with sweets and an encouraging note to send to all employees in each of our four Sydney Homes. 

Juanita is known for continued dedication and genuine care for each of the residents and provides an exciting, fun and inclusive program to stimulate and keep residents active. 

From all of us at Regis, congratulations Juanita!  

We will be featuring all our 2021 National Regis Care Award winners as part of the Regis People Awards series over January and February.