Lisa Shepherd – Healthcare Assistant & Activities Coordinator
Variety is what attracts Kerikeri Retirement Village activities coordinator Lisa Shepherd to what she does.
“Every day is different, I never know what I’m going to walk into,” she says. “In our environment the lives and circumstances of our residents can change overnight – what they were able to do yesterday they may well not be able to do today. And with that comes a need to be adaptable, versatile and imaginative. I love it!”
Lisa started working at Kerikeri Retirement Village as a Healthcare Assistant. She’s now responsible for developing and running a range of activities designed to stimulate the interest of the people who live in our Care Facility.
“That’s one of the great things about a career in Care,” Lisa says. “It can take you down so many interesting pathways, from full-on nursing through to diversional and physiotherapy. Or into respite care and in-home support for some of our independent-living residents. Or even into property and facilities management or aged care administration. It’s certainly not a static career, that’s for sure.”
Lisa’s objective is to build an activities programme that residents enjoy and are most likely to engage with. And, importantly, one that assists with their treatment and care.
“This requires me to have a really good understanding of what makes each of our 64 Care Facility residents tick, and what exactly they need by way of diversional therapy. And with everyone being so different the job certainly is an interesting and challenging one.”
To get the best result, Lisa likes to take some time to get to know each resident’s life story. Where possible she’ll work with their families and friends to put together a meaningful leisure plan.
“We get to learn an incredible amount about each person this way. Quite frequently I learn information that can form an important part of an individual’s medical treatment and care, and sometimes the nurses and healthcare assistants feed information to me that adds to what I know about that person. It all goes into the mix so that, between us, we can provide an appropriate, well-rounded and holistic treatment plan.”
At the end of the day, Lisa says, it’s all about giving each resident the best possible quality of life.
So would she recommend Care as a career?
“Absolutely – but you’d need to have the right sort of temperament. Loads of empathy, compassion and patience.
“You need to want to be there. And on those days when you’re dealing with troubles of your own (and we all have those days), you need to be able to leave those concerns at the door. Because the people you’re caring for need you at your happiest, brightest and shiniest.”