Kellie Bennett’s caring approach to programming recognized

‘Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions’

October 24, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Creating meaningful programming for residents affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is a challenge for most programming departments, but one Garden Terrace life enrichment worker embraces that challenge — and gets positive results.

Because of her tenacity and resident focus, life enrichment aide (LEA) Kellie Bennett has been nominated for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

In her letter to the nomination committee, Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta praises Bennett’s ability to engage residents and get a positive reaction.

“I have watched as Kellie has sung her heart out as she walks around a room, reaching forward and clasping residents’ hands in an effort to engage them — I have watched those residents respond to this gesture in a way I have never seen them respond to other staff,” says Della Foresta.

“She can elicit a smile, a wink, a hug from people that many would consider unreachable. . . . Kellie shows incredible patience with residents as they try to complete a task for themselves during a program — she doesn’t rush them — she encourages them and then she celebrates with them.”

Bennett takes a personalized approach when working on an activity with residents affected by cognitive impairment, often changing her methods until she finds an intervention that works. Often, a resident will enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

And Bennett always upholds residents’ dignity, Della Foresta adds.

“Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions,” she says.

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come

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