“It just feels right here. My soul is fulfilled on a daily basis.”

Lee-Ann Boyce,

Head of Staff Training

I think from a training perspective, knowledge is such power and the more we know, the more we learn about this particular disease. It just enhances our residents’ lives for the better. I have the best job here. I have fun. I get time to spend with the residents, I get time to spend with myself and I get time to teach so people can learn!

I don’t stop learning. Dementia is unfortunately not even just an epidemic, it’s become a pandemic worldwide. It is coming more to the forefront. It could be lifestyle related, but no-one knows for sure. There are so many different aspects to it and no-one really knows what the trigger is. It is very much about continuous reading, online research and getting in touch with family sites and support groups, because it’s the caregivers of the dementia sufferers that you learn the most from because they are at the forefront of this disease. So for me to keep myself on top of it, I am always reading. It’s also about wanting to learn and wanting to do things differently. So that’s what I do. I learn 24/7.

One of the benefits to staff is how they grow as individuals. And what I love is – they started taking their knowledge to their communities and that’s something we encourage. Dementia is an illness and we need to treat people as though they are still human, because they are, they are still very much in there. So our staff have just gone from strength to strength. It’s so lovely to see. And to see their empathy and compassion, and how that grows as well. It just feels right here, my soul is fulfilled on a daily basis. That is what’s so important. You can have what is possibly the worst day ever, but you walk out of here at the end of the day and you go “Yes, that was awesome” and that’s down to our residents. They are very special. They fill my soul.

If you spend time with your residents, they take you to the most wonderful places. Sometimes stepping into their reality… and…well you have to step into that reality so…“ for instance they’ll say that the train is leaving at 3, so we need to leave at one. The things that they come up with are just phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. I have been to Turkey, and have been overseas I can’t tell you how many times, it has been the best experience ever and it’s just amazing to step into their world. To sit and just have a good old chuckle with them is…phenomenal.

Be yourself, be authentic. I think accepting those around you and their authenticity is vital. Society has unfortunately made us not be ourselves. We’ve had to conform and we’ve had to fit into these little boxes, so I think by being who you are and being the best you, you can only but Livewell. And I think that is what’s important on the dementia scale – if you actually let them just be and accept them for who they are you don’t try and bring back the past, you will actually find that you will be able to give them a better quality of life and that’s what we are here for. So living well is just being yourself.