The importance of staying connected
After 21 years of working at HBH Senior Living, Sophie Flavell has seen many changes. Especially since the Eden Alternative was introduced 5 years ago, she’s noticed a real difference in the way residents stay connected and involved in daily life at HBH.
Sophie is in charge of the Seymour Community café and relishes the connection it gives her with residents and their families. The café is a recent initiative, and it’s proving very popular.
“When I first started, the residents had morning tea delivered to their rooms. Now HBH is completely different – residents are out of their rooms and there is so much for them to get involved in. It’s like a busy, happy home – with something always going on. I’ve seen a real change in the residents – they get to know each other and communicate more with each other.”
“I get the café set up in the morning and put music on that they enjoy. Some of the residents join me and help to get it organised. Then we let the residents know we’re open and to pop along. It’s lovely seeing them come in each morning and have a cuppa and a chat.
The café is a perfect meeting place – the families often pop into the café too for morning tea. I’ve got to know many of them and we have a chat. Sometimes family and staff bring their children and grandchildren in and they love getting to know them as well.”
Sophie says that residents now have a lot more say in what they do and when they do it – just as they would at home. There are always activities and outings planned for them, as well as many spontaneous events. “We make a big fuss of birthdays. One of the residents has a mouth organ which he plays on special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and welcoming new residents.”
She has noticed that many residents find it difficult at first when they arrive at HBH Senior Living, but nearly all of them wish they’d come sooner. “They’re usually surprised at how much they enjoy it here – and having company makes a huge difference for so many.”
Sophie says that the staff’s job descriptions have changed since HBH Senior Living introduced the Eden Alternative. “We listen to the residents more. We see HBH as their home, one we’re a part of. We involve ourselves more – it has made my job much more enjoyable.
There is one lovely lady here who is over 100 years of age. She has an amazing attitude – every day she puts her make-up on and tidies herself up before walking to dinner. I’ve seen that having a positive attitude makes all the difference to your quality of life as you age.”