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Meet our new Therapy Program Coordinator at Bethanie Como and Subiaco!

This month, March 2021, marks one year since the former Berrington Como and Subiaco aged care homes became part of the Bethanie community. Over the year, we have spent our time getting to know our wonderful new staff and residents.

Here, we have a chat with our very friendly Therapy Program Coordinator, Wendy.

How long you have been with Bethanie?

I joined Bethanie as a Therapy Assistant in July 2020. Recently, I have started a new role as the Therapy Program Coordinator which I am very excited about.

What brought you to Bethanie?

Well I have worked within the aged care industry for roughly 20-years both as a volunteer and as part of the permanent staff team. To better equip myself with the skills necessary to do this role, I have completed a Cert 3 in Allied Health and a Cert 4 in Lifestyle and am currently completing my Diploma of Counselling. I would love to go into Chaplaincy one day.

The previous aged care group I worked with for 15 years. This company was a not-for-profit like Bethanie, however, did not have a Christian heritage. Eventually I left and took some well-deserved time off.

I myself am a Christian, so when looking for my next role, finding somewhere with roots in Christianity was important to me.

Bethanie was actually my employer of choice. From various volunteer networking groups and being part of the industry and the nation-wide Meaningful Ageing Program, I knew long-time Bethanie employees Laurette Le Cras, Corporate Outreach Program Manager, and David Van Leen, Head of Mission. I found them both to be quite inspiring and knew they were very happy working towards Bethanie’s mission.

One day, during one of these networking events when I was with another employer, I was walking out the door at one of the Bethanie sites and a sign on the door caught my eye. It was the Bethanie mission statement:

“Our mission is to demonstrate the Love of God by positively changing the way Australians experience ageing-every customer, every family, every community, every day.”

This really resonated with me. I knew after reading that, that Bethanie was the place for me.

What is your role at Bethanie now, and what role do you hope to move into over the next year or so?

This month I actually moved into a fantastic new role as the Therapy Program Coordinator.

I work with the Therapy team to ensure that residents at Bethanie Como and Subiaco enjoy all the wonderful extra services on offer. With the therapy team at each home I work to make sure that we have an exciting mix of entertainment, social events, activities and outings as well as seasonal celebrations and activities, all tailored to the interests and abilities of the residents.

What activities do the residents the most?

They absolutely enjoy the activities where they are able to socially interact with each other, the staff and new people. They find this so stimulating.

There are a number of activities we run that cater to this, some include our much-anticipated monthly cultural events, our Friday afternoon Happy Hour, fortnightly concerts and live entertainment and the quiz and trivia activities we run regularly.

I particularly enjoy seeing how they respond to animals, especially the alpacas who came in recently and wandered through each floor going to the residents in their rooms.

The residents also enjoy our daily seated exercise class. This is a great way for them to keep their bodies active and moving whilst having a laugh amongst friends

We also take special care to arrange activities that stimulate all the senses. One of these is the lovely bus outings we take together. The residents like scenic drives to places such as Kings Park where they can see the everchanging City landscape, or on beach trips where they can reminisce about old times and enjoy the salty ocean breeze.

Is there a particular moment that made you realise just how important your role is in the resident’s lives?

I remember way back in the very beginning of my career in the aged care industry, I had a manager who said something along the lines of, “We have the privilege of meeting people in the final chapter of their life story. We have the power to make it a joyful ending or a sad ending.”

That line has really stuck with me and inspired me over the years.

As part of the Therapy team, we help people maintain their independence, their individuality and their dignity right up until the very end. We get to see how people with people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities, including chronic pain, take on each day. And I see this as an absolute privilege.

I can remember a resident I had worked with for over ten years. I had gotten to know her and her family over this time. When she passed away, the family expressed their deepest gratitude for being part of making their mother’s final years full of joy and meaning. It was then that I realised the impact I had in all of their lives. I was so humbled in that moment. It doesn’t matter if it is a short time or a long time a resident may be with us, we have the opportunity each and every day to positively impact their wellbeing, and therefore, the lives of their loved ones as well.

As someone who has lived with MS for the past 14-years, the people I work with have taught me a great deal about resilience and perseverance in the face of pain, loss and adversity.

For more information about Bethanie Subiaco or Bethanie Como Aged Care Homes, please call 131 151 or visit our website.

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