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Thursday February 8, 2018

Poneke House offers modern approach to dementia care By Jamie Adams

Ultimate Care Group general manager clinical services Carole Kaffes in one of the dementia care space’s living rooms. Through the window behind her is a nurses’ supervisory room. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

Sensory stimulation to help dementia patients remember is part of the specialised care being offered at a new dementia care service in Wellington. The new dementia care space in Newtown was officially opened last week by Ultimate Care Group’s general manager of clinical services, Carole Kaffes, and facility manager Karen Gear. Karen says the space has a strong focus on sensory stimulation. “While dementia can’t be cured, we know that in the right, caring environment, treatment can help,” she says. “That includes evoking memories that promote a sense of wellbeing for our residents. “Our rooms have been decorated with special art, and there’s a sensory wall and sensory rooms that let residents remember certain tastes

and sounds. “We also have raised gardens which our residents can grow seasonal vegetables in, and a garden walk featuring intriguing smells like coriander, thyme and curry, and bright colours that change with the seasons.” Karen says the Ultimate Care Group has many years’ experience providing excellent dementia care at other locations around the country. “Our dementia-trained staff focus on the person, not the disease, enabling us to create a home-away-from-home environment that helps our residents thrive.” Poneke House, formerly Ultimate Care Group Mt Victoria, is located on the corner of Constable St and Alexandra Rd. It is the fourth of its kind in the group’s nationwide portfolio. “That means greater choice for those experiencing de-

Age no barrier to volunteering say airport ambassadors By Jamie Adams

It is hard to miss the prominent information kiosk located on the upper level of Wellington’s airport terminal. It may seem innocuous to any patron familiar with the airport and its protocols, but for Norma Hudson and Susan Adams it is an important facility and one they take seriously - and enjoy immensely. The pair are one of about 50 volunteers involved in Wellington Airport’s ambassador programme, which has been running for three years. The primary role of ambassadors, who are stationed at information desks around the terminal, is to give passengers advice and assistance. Working in four-hour shifts for a number of days each week, they are onsite from 9am to 5pm weekdays and 12.30 to 5pm on Sundays. Norma, of Lower Hutt, and Susan, of Miramar, who are both in their early 70s, have volunteered for much of their adult life. “I’ve done over 40 years of volunteer work,” Susan says. “I’ve been on a lot of committees, and I’ve been the president of the Council of Jewish Women in New Zealand.” She chose the airport due to its proximity as well as

the fact her husband also volunteers there. Norma’s volunteer roles in addition to this one have included being a community patrol member, and chaired the Hutt Safe City Group. The ladies joined forces after meeting for the first time in another voluntary role at Wellington Zoo. “I’d recently retired and Susan told me it would be a good way of getting out and meeting people. It’s wonderful being able to help people which is something I have always done, having been here for two and a half years. For Susan the most satisfying part of the job is putting people at ease, whether they be crying children or new arrivals apprehensive about entering a foreign land. “Sometimes I meet some people from India who don’t speak English. It can take a while until somebody they know meets them. I can stay and help them until they arrive. They always thank me for my help.” “For a lot of people who don’t speak English you can help just by pointing to things,” Norma says. “I love to tell people what they should do while visiting,” she adds. They also get a buzz when they sometimes encounter the same airport folk at the zoo, where they volunteer on Sundays. For Norma, the trust of

Volunteers Norma Hudson and Susan Adams at their information kiosk at Wellington Airport. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

strangers can also be fulfilling. “A woman came through from the international terminal with a baby in her arms and came to the counter and asked me to look after the baby for 15 minutes while she went to relieve herself. She’d been on a flight from London for 33 hours.” Another highlight was the flattery received upon meeting an actual ambassador - the kind who represents a country. “He said to us ‘you are the true ambassadors’,” Susan recalls.

Norma and Susan believe volunteering in retirement is good for mental health; Norma even jokes it helps her “stay sane”. It is therefore no surprise they intend to stick to it for some time yet. “It will be for several years as long as we’re mobile.”  The airport accepts two intakes of volunteers per year. People who are interested in joining the ambassador programme can contact manager Monique Ramage on 04 385 5165.

mentia, their loved ones, and the professionals who help find suitable accommodation,” Carole says. Nurses from Care Co-ordination, Mary Potter Hospice and Older Persons Service, as well as social workers, were given a tour of the facility soon after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The centre has rooms featuring facades to help remind patients of the room’s function, as well as their past. For example the kitchen has a mural depicting an old-style breadshop, with a menu in large letters on the opposite wall. In addition, the upgraded centre can now cater for patients with the advanced stage of dementia as it has a fenced perimeter and doors with swipecard access. Previously they would have been required to transfer to the hospital if they were found to have wandered out in a confused state.

Swiss traditional culture coming to Wellington The Embassy of Switzerland and the Wellington City Council are bringing traditional Swiss culture to the citizens of the nation’s capital. At lunchtime on February 13 and 14 the Trachtengruppe Baar will yodel, sing, dance, play the beautiful alphorn and even throw flags in the sky. Baar is a town in the Canton of Zug, near Zurich. The 26 Swiss cantons are sovereign little republics, each of them with its own parliament, government and tax policy. They are responsible for most public matters and form together the Swiss Confederation, represented with an Embassy in New Zealand where 7000 Swiss citizens and at least 30,000 Swiss descendants live. Each of these cantons has its own beautiful traditional costume or tracht for both women and men. It is nowadays worn mostly on festive occasions or for cultural performances. The 40-strong group from Baar has performed in New Zealand before and also in the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Both shows run from 12pm to 1:30pm, with the Tuesday performance in Civic Square and the Wednesday performance at Midland Park.

Cook Strait News 08-02-18  

Cook Strait News 08-02-18

Cook Strait News 08-02-18  

Cook Strait News 08-02-18