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Intouch : In Touch Issue 76
14 in touch Autumn 2011 www.alzheimers.org.au alzNSW’s Mobile Respite Team (MRT) operates out of the Bega Valley Shire under the capable stewardship of June Madden and Nola Hergenhan. The MRT is designed to assist those caring for a person with dementia at home, offering support, education and a referral service to carers living as far north as Cobargo, throughout Bermagui, Bega, Merimbula, Pambula, Eden, south to the Victorian border, and all the way from the coast to the Great Dividing Range. Both Nola and June are natural caregivers, with Nola drawn to the happiness she can provide to those carers in whose lives she makes a difference. June has a similar strength of conviction, remarking that the carers and people living with dementia with whom she comes into contact “could be part of my family”. Two sides Tailored, individual care is at the heart of the MRT program, with Nola focusing primarily on the needs of the carer, and June providing support to the person with dementia. Their visits can range from a needs assessment to the provision of therapeutic care. “I might help the person with dementia do an activity that they enjoy such as the gardening, or I might help them to organise the toolshed,” says June. “Alternatively, we might go for a walk somewhere local that is meaningful to them, giving them an opportunity to discover something new, out of their day-to-day setting.” “Focusing on the carer means a slightly different service offering,” says Nola. “I might help the carer fill in the needs assessment forms, or start building a plan for future care. I might walk them through the educational materials I bring along, giving a thorough overview of the support resources I can make available.” Take it personally Both Nola and June acknowledge that their jobs are not always easy. Working in the community means coming into people’s homes, entering their lives and building confidence. “Our first challenge is helping people to gain trust in our services, our second is to manage the needs of those with dementia when appropriate respite services are not available to the carer,” says Nola. “Another challenge,” says June, “is the separation anxiety faced by those in residential respite care. In fact, I would say that the challenges are as unique as the individuals we are assisting. There is never a dull moment!” Both women thrive on the variety offered in their outreach work, constantly meeting new faces and hearing new stories. Providing strategic planning, as well as day-to-day support, makes the MRT a dynamic place to work, and the wealth of experience carried by both June and Nola is a true asset to the Bega Valley Shire. by Zoë Myers A day in the life of... People the Mobile respite Team Contact the MrT Contact the Mobile Respite Team at Bega Valley Shire for more information about services available. T: 02 6492 6158 E: www.alzheimers.org.au nola (left) focuses on the needs of the carer, while june provides support to the person with dementia.
In Touch Issue 75
In Touch Issue 77