Brightening up the day one resident at a time

News & Events

Brightening up the day one resident at a time

June 11, 2021

Vicki Short sets herself a daily challenge: to make just one person in Liscombe House smile.

 

As one of the lifestyle team members, Vicki spends her days with the residents on group as well as individual activities. No day is ever the same, but the days she brings her dog Flair into Liscombe House are the ones when smiling comes freely.

 

“The one-to-one time with residents is vital; it is time when we chat about everything and nothing, offer social and emotional support when needed and it is often when Flair, my nine-year-old Papillon, is most valuable,” Vicki said.

 

Flair was trained as a pet therapy dog. With a sweet disposition and calming influence, this ‘ball of fluff’ is able to change a sad face to one of happiness simply with her presence.

 

“I started bringing Flair to work nearly eight years ago because I knew the residents were missing their own pets. She is worth her weight in gold, the residents are her extended family and Liscombe House is her second home,” Vicki said.

 

Aged care was not Vicki’s immediate choice of career.  Before working with older people, she spent fifteen years as a dental nurse/ practice manager and dance teacher. She stopped working to raise her family. At the same time, she studied performing arts, becoming involved in theatrical and screen productions and dance.

 

“When I was ready again for “a real job”, I first considered nursing and then discovered diversional therapy,” Vicki said.

 

“It was the perfect match for me, I could use my skills in performing arts to interact and engage with people to hopefully brighten their day.”

 

Fast forward nearly 20 years and Vicki has never regretted her decision, still loving what she does.

 

She acknowledges that lifestyle has its fair share of challenges, but it remains a rewarding job.

 

“Contrary to what many think, diversional therapy involves far more than just entertaining the residents. Whether it is for cognitive, physical, social, spiritual or emotional benefit, there is a reason behind every activity we do, where we do it and when we do it,” Vicki said.

 

An essential aspect of the Lifestyle team’s job is to know each resident’s interests, the likes and dislikes of each and plan activities accordingly. The team regularly assesses and reassesses every resident’s participation to ensure they are getting the maximum benefit from all the activities they take part in and making the most of their day.

“This approach goes a long way to enabling us to understand how each resident is feeling and what gives them a sense of purpose,” Vicki said.

 

Vicki says she is proud to be part of the Liscombe House family. For her, Liscombe House felt like home the minute she walked through the front doors nine years ago.

 

“I feel like I belong, and I think I can say that Flair does too,” Vicki said.

 

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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