We’re working hard to highlight the importance of specialised memory care facilities as well as the need for highly-skilled, and trained Alzheimer’s carers. The level of care and training needed to optimally care for someone with a cognitive deficiency (as in a type of dementia) is far more specialised than what is needed by carers in ordinary old age homes or retirement villages. Hence the need for specialised Alzheimer’s facilities and trained Alzheimer’s carers. However, the quality of care does not only depend on the type of training, but it is also deeply rooted in the type of people who go into this field. People who have a passion for helping those who cannot help themselves, and patience that goes with having a complete understanding of the disease, are at the centre of this kind of specialised care. These innate qualities enable them to form real and close bonds with residents, which we believe helps them to cope better with their transition into the care facility as well as to how well they respond to their treatments.
Forming bonds with others in the facility, which includes our Alzheimer’s carers and companions, helps to fight off loneliness and depression, as well as increase their overall wellness both physically and mentally. Happier residents are more willing to participate in activities and feel more at ease, which boosts their confidence and helps their treatments along. We are proud to have many of these incredible Alzheimer’s carers in all of our Alzheimer’s facilities and would like to share some of their stories just to highlight how important these bonds are and why we are so passionate about specialised dementia care.
Vongani Safina Tshogwe, Care Worker
Vongani has been a care worker in Alzheimer’s facilities for 5 years. She went into dementia care because she knew that her big heart and perseverance would endear her to working with the memory impaired. What made Vongani stand out from other Alzheimer’s carers at our facility, was her ability to form a close relationship even when residents struggle to talk, she finds a way to communicate with them:
“My last resident wouldn’t talk much but he spoke to me a lot. He would speak to me with his eyes. He would smile with me and he loved me. I remember his last day, I could see he was going. He looked at me and gave me a laugh that I had never seen before. He looked at me as if he was saying something good. I asked him, “Papa, is your time gone?” and he laughed. I put him in his wheelchair and he grabbed my hand and hugged me for a long time. I said “It’s fine Papa, it’s fine, if it’s your time now, you can go. May God bless you where you are going and may your soul rest in peace.” And he looked at me and laughed, and then he left me.“
Tannie Sarie Kressfelder, Companion
Tannie Sarie is a Companion at one of our Alzheimer’s facilities; our companions are expertly trained to assist our residents with their activities and therapies, through which they form friendships which become an indispensable part of our skilled care offering, adding warmth and purpose to our residents’ daily lives. Tannie Sarie and her husband have dedicated their lives to love and care for our residents, ever since their son passed away:
“My name is Sarie Kressfelder but everybody calls me Tannie Sarie and I’m a companion at Livewell. To love and care and serve – that’s my motto. We have worked here for seven years now. I say “we” because my husband and I both work here. We have been married for 52 years. We work very well together and chat, in the evening, about Livewell because we really love the people, so it works out very well. We started working here after our son passed away nine years ago and we feel this is a way in which we can give others our love and compassion.”
Priscilla Hellenberg, Personal Groomer
Priscilla has been a personal groomer at one of our Alzheimer’s facilities’ salons for over 7 years. She loves working with the residents and making their day by spoiling them with much needed TLC. A bit of pampering allows our residents a calming and comforting experience with our professional groomers and hairdressers, just like Priscilla, who are trained to work with people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s.
“I love our dementia patients very, very much and I give them my all. I could write a book on each and every one of them! A resident we have who comes to the salon always asks me to turn the rollers up and down in her hair. She always wants her hair to be curly, so that’s what I’ve done for her since day one. She just wants her special hair treatment and her daughter from England thanks me every day for doing her mom’s hair because she takes photos and sends them to her.”
We pride ourselves on being one of the only specialised Alzheimer’s facilities that offers personalised care and trained Alzheimer’s carers and staff. We focus on the small things just as often as the big things – because they do count, especially to our residents.