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Our own Twilight dementia specialist Leah Bisiani (RN1 / MHlthSc / DipBus / Dementia and Aged Care consultant) has recently been appointed to join the prestigious International Caregivers Association Advisory Board “I feel very privileged and honoured to be joining forces with such an esteemed group of people whose mission is to make the world a better place for people living with dementia and their partners in care. It is a huge compliment, and the future shines in front of us.” Leah said. Congratulations Leah!
What does the advisory board do? From the ICA website: “As the spearhead for a global coalition to transform dementia care worldwide, ICA welcomes and actively engages some of the best minds across the fields that impact this mission. We are honored to introduce our esteemed ICA Advisory Board, a work in progress as we continually meet outstanding hearts and minds shaping dementia care.
This exemplary group provides invaluable guidance as we expand the revolutionary Transactional Dementia Intelligence (TDI) Model globally. Our advisors offer diverse expertise and perspectives from various cultures, professional backgrounds, and personal experiences to enhance our model. These distinguished voices help ensure our work reflects the broad needs of dementia patients, families, and care providers worldwide.”
Find out more at the website: www.InternationalCaregiversAssociation.com
In April 2023, well-known Dural residential care home Lady of Grace changed hands, and operations were assumed by Twilight Aged Care.
Some words from Neil Wendt, our Twilight CEO:
“For Twilight, Lady of Grace is a very nice fit as we specialise in small boutique size operations. Our existing four homes (at Gladesville, Hunters Hill, Gordon and Mosman) are all 35 to 45 bed homes.
Our philosophy is based on the principal that smaller homes allow for a family feel, where staff and residents can form a close bond. We provide our own unique “Twilight Family Model of Care” with key principles being; that the individuality of our residents is valued; that residents live in a home, not an institution, supported to live the life they choose with purpose and meaning, enjoying freshly cooked meals where their health and wellbeing are our priority.
We achieve these objectives through getting to personally know our residents, their individual story and what brings them fulfilment, and connecting with them as valued members of our community. All of our processes are designed to create an environment where residents feel safe, cared for and ‘at home.’
With our wealth of experience, we can draw on a wide range of resources which are already offered in our other homes, knowing that they are beneficial and will enhance the quality of life of residents. Lady of Grace residents now have an expanded range of activities, including The Dance Man, Resparke, silent disco and listening programs, creative outlets with art therapy, fun physical activity such as cardio drumming, as well as bus outings and other events.
Our team spend time with residents and their families to understand each personal story, which then allows us to better tailor our care and activities to their individual wants and preferences. We also celebrate events that are special to this specific community, like the recent Italian National Day at which we provided a pizza oven, Italian chef and Italian singer.
Our Twilight team have embraced the new addition in Dural. Mari Reyes has been acting Facility Manager at the home since May 2023, moving from Hunters Hill Village to support the transition, along with a rotation of team members from all areas of our homes including catering and recreation officers, as well as carers and nurses. With all the positive feedback received at a recent Resident Family and Friends meeting, there is a lot to look forward to.”
Elaine cooked up her favourite dish of Chicken Risotto.
Rahul says “We organized a delightful cooking session for our resident Elaine ( Horton House), and the result was absolutely heartening.
Our resident Elaine eagerly participated in the cooking session, showcasing her culinary talents.
The atmosphere was filled with laughter, joy, and a sense of togetherness.
Elaine was fully engaged and relished every moment of the activity.”
Residents and staff sampled the finish product and all agreed it was delicious.
“I’m so proud of how giving and kind our Twilight staff are. Their focus is always on ensuring our residents feel at home.” Neil Wendt, Twilight CEO.
On Monday August 7, 2023, Twilight Aged Care honoured and celebrated our staff teams. With a gift and a staff luncheon, we said #thanksforcaring to our fabulous staff members, from catering to care, from RN’s to FM’s, from cleaning and maintenance to recreational activity officers and gardeners. Without all of you, our frail aged and vulnerable residents would not receive the excellent care they deserve.
As well as celebrating our current staff, we said goodbye to John, from Hunters Hill Village, after eight years of wonderful service. Best wishes for the future, John!
This week, we meet Glades Bay Gardens resident Liz Matthews to learn more about her life story from nurse to nanny and how she came to Glades Bay Gardens.
“I always wanted to be a nanny. I got to be a nanny.” – Liz Matthews
Liz grew up in Woolbrook, Tamworth, recalling that she had animals around her for as long as she could remember.
Her Dad decided to get a horse for Liz and Jacquie, her younger sister. Liz named her pony Patches- “of course, because she had patches on her!”
When Liz was around 12 years old, she loved attending Pony Camp. She remembers sharing Patches with her sister, when poor Jacquie’s horse Bluebell got sick and couldn’t go to the competitions. In 1960, Liz was awarded a medal for the best child, and most well-mannered child. Liz laughs when telling this part of the story, because she feels this award may not have truly reflected what she was actually like.
Liz especially loved her cow, Daisy. Daisy used to wait at the gate for Liz when she came back from school. Daisy loved cuddles. Liz could put her arm right around the cow and would give Daisy a big hug. Penny the goat, on the other hand, used to eat all the clothes off the washing line!
This is a photo of Liz with her cow Daisy.
Liz enjoyed being a part of The Rangers, which was like girl guides. She had a uniform and would go to the Rangers to play games, eat evening meals and make friends. In 1961 she was awarded a certificate of merit for her tennis.
She remembers life on the farm with her father starting at 5 am every morning to milk the cows, and after breakfast, continuing the day feeding and looking after the sheep and cattle. Liz enjoyed helping with these tasks and would even drive the tractor. She was sad when her father became unwell because he worked so hard.
Liz faced a few challenges, one being with her health; she got measles, broke her leg once, and experienced bullying because of a speech impediment. However, she had good friends and enjoyed spending time with them when she could. She went to boarding school in Tamworth, where she received help from a specialist with her speech.
It was clear from a young age that Liz enjoyed babysitting, with an early memory of pushing baby Jacquie around in the pram. Her first job was at Far West as a nanny, caring for homeless children and little ones left by their parents.
Liz recalls the never-to-be-forgotten night in the middle of winter when she heard a noise. She told the Sister that she could hear crying, and they ventured outside to explore.
There was plenty of light even though it was dark that night. Liz knew they were safe, and cameras were around the place. She felt very protected. They heard the cry of a baby, and sure enough, at the front gate they found a tiny infant that looked about 5-6 weeks old, left on the ground wearing just a nappy and nothing else. Liz remembers how cold the baby felt when they picked her up. After a warm bath and a good feed, Liz and the Sister found some clothes for the baby and put her to bed. The hungry little girl slept well that night, and Liz watched her grow and thrive over the next two and a half years she worked at Far West.
In 1970 Liz went to Warrungah, a hospital home for children in Camperdown. She was an assistant nurse’s aide and also worked in the dining room, serving food. “There was chop and change between the kids, the staff, and the dining” says Liz, but there were no night shifts which suited her. After this, she went to work in Western Australia for around 2 years. Liz recalls the beautiful orchids her friends sent when she planned on returning to visit her father in Sydney. Orchids happened to be her father’s favorite flower.
On 8th December 1979 at Neutral Bay, Liz married George at the Kirribilly Club. She says it was such a special day for her and her bouquet was orchids. She remembers nearly falling in her long dress and a gorgeous long veil!
This is Liz with George her husband.
Here is Liz with her Mum and Dad on her wedding day.
Then, Liz says, “All of a sudden, I fell pregnant.” Liz has a beautiful daughter and grandchildren who she loves. Liz attended River City Church, where there are lots of people she cares about.
Being a Nanny was Liz’s favorite, longest, and most meaningful job. She made such strong connections that some of the children she looked after keep in contact with her to this day, and on her 50th birthday, she celebrated with the family she had nannied. They presented her with a generous gift that meant a lot to her. When it comes to birthday celebrations, Liz keeps her family and friends close.
Her big heart for people has always been there.
Liz is now at home with Twilight, living in Glades Bay Gardens. She loves chatting to staff and visitors, visiting family and close friends and being a part of the group who makes new residents welcome at Glades Bay Gardens. She fills her day with meaningful activites, participating in the ‘Resparke’ music program, art therapy, silent disco, bowls, golf, and flower making. Liz especially looks forward to her jewel art on Wednesdays.
Liz says, “I just enjoy life.”
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Liz!
This week, we meet Hunters Hill resident Joan and Recreational Activity Officer Sadhna Shah.
“I met Sadhna when I first moved into the home. I had moved from the Independent Unit within the grounds of Hunters Hill Village. She has many good qualities. She is respectful and very considerate to the needs of residents.”
“She is very patient and kind. She deals with situations and finds solutions to many complex problems. She is one of the very experienced staff at the home.”
What do you like most about Sadhna?
“Her cheerful and optimistic approach to life. She supported us all very well during Covid Pandemic when we could not be in touch with the outside world. She fully supported me throughout with emotional support and kept me busy by participating in activities of interest.”
“She supported me throughout our Intergenerational Activities with Macquarie University last year. I attend all the big and small events celebrated at the home, including outdoor activities like monthly barbeques, bus trips, concerts, etc. I always attend Monthly Resident Meetings, which I enjoy being an active part of.”
“She is always calm and composed most of the time on the floor working with many residents with different needs.”
What do you like most about Joan?
“Joan has a very warm and welcoming personality. I admire her for her high academic background. She is a graduate of Sydney University, and for that matter, all her family, i.e., her children and grandchildren, have graduated from Sydney University.”
“She is a very kind and wise woman.”
What do you enjoy most when working with Joan?
“The person she is. Joan likes to be as independent as possible. I see that she attends monthly meetings and participates actively. She enjoys the company of like-minded people. She reads the daily newspaper and enjoys doing crosswords and attends concerts, bus trips, and so on.”
“Joan attends most of the big and small events celebrated at the home nicely and smartly dressed.”
Lisa Vale is currently acting as Twilight’s Lifestyle and Volunteer Coordinator. In this role, Lisa reports to Staff Services Manager Emily Hams. Emily caught up with Lisa recently to chat about her journey with Twilight.
Emily: It is wonderful that you are acting in the Coordinator role for us Lisa. I am impressed how you started as a volunteer and now you are a Coordinator. Can you share with us some of your story?
Lisa: I actually started as a volunteer. My father was unwell in Queensland and I was not able to see him at the time. I was worried that he may be feeling lonely. It made me think about elderly people and how some would appreciate a visit.
I have lived all of my life in Gladesville and did my schooling locally at Gladesville Public School and Malvena High. So, I googled ‘local aged care homes in Gladesville’ and Glades Bay Gardens came up first. I called them to say I was interested in volunteering as a visitor.
The first resident I was ‘buddied’ with was Jill. I came once a week to visit her and talk about life. I also brought along my son Ethan. He was a big hit with everyone here and used to wander around talking to everyone.
After around about 5 months Sai asked if I would like to consider a role as a Recreational Activities Officer. Initially it was only one day a week, but I loved it. The work kept growing and you (Emily) suggested I consider some study in that field. I enrolled in the Certificate 4 Lifestyle & Leisure course at Meadowbank TAFE. I was working three days a week then and the course took 6 months to successfully complete.
Not long after that I found myself working full time and also covering in the admin and concierge roles when required. Now, almost three years later, I am acting in the Coordinator role.
Emily: What have you liked best about your time with Twilight?
Lisa: I have loved every role I have been a part of at Twilight, as it feels like my second home with all my grandmothers and grandfathers a part of it.
Honestly, I think the residents really make the role and their appreciation of what you do for them is endless and heartfelt. I think my RAO role was so fulfilling it honestly was the best job I have ever held.
Emily: Are there any moments that stand out?
Lisa: I think the most outstanding moments at Twilight are Culture of the Month days at Glades Bay Gardens, as we all get involved with the residents with dress ups and great music, dancing and Ramina’s cooking.
I also love catching up with Jill (pictured) when I can. It was her birthday on 6 October and it was nice to share some of that day with her.
Twilight Aged Care is excited to announce that we have been named the NSW/ACT Organisation Award Winner at the Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) 2021 Excellence in Age Services Awards.
Twilight CEO Neil Wendt said, “Being recognised in this way is a great honour for our staff. Throughout a difficult year they have worked tirelessly to ensure our residents are safe and well.
“Our focus is not on winning awards; it is on providing excellent care for our residents. But it certainly feels good to receive such a significant accolade from the age services peak body LASA.”
Twilight Board Chair Lorraine Lovitt said, “On behalf of our Board, we are extremely proud of this award. It is an acknowledgement on the exceptional care that our staff provide to our residents and the support provided by our Executive team. This is the essence of Twilight.”
Watch the announcement here.