Montefiore recently launched its Spotlight Series online, highlighting some of the issues that affect older people and their loved ones. Included on each panel will be a range of visiting experts, Montefiore’s own professionals in clinical and allied health care, as well as community members sharing their experiences.
“We had hoped to be launching Spotlight as an in-person event. But lockdown has proven that it’s more important than ever to stay connected any way we can, so we’re thrilled to be launching the program online,” said Montefiore director of marketing, engagement and client relations, Ariella Roth. “It has also highlighted how vital it is that we all come together to talk about how we can support older members of our community and each other.”
The most recent online speaker event took place live on Zoom on Tuesday, October 12. Longstanding Montefiore board members Lisa Spira and Renee Symonds shared their personal experiences as loved ones moved into residential care this year. In conversation with Montefiore general manager of residential care, Thomas Kramer, they covered how they knew it was time for more care, family decision-making, and working together to ensure the best support.
Both women have a wealth of experience in the health and aged care sector, Lisa as a clinical nurse educator and operating theatre nurse, and Renee as a clinical psychologist who helped establish Montefiore’s Staff Holocaust Awareness program.
Lisa’s father, Henry, moved into the high-care dementia living (Special Care Unit) at Randwick, until his recent passing. Renée’s husband, Geoff, spent several months in Randwick Hostel after a brain cancer diagnosis, for rehabilitation and then palliative care before passing away in June.
Despite their first-hand experience in the sector, both Lisa and Renee still faced some difficulties. “When the time comes to make tough decisions, you’re at your lowest point emotionally,” Lisa said. “All you can do is be informed and learn about the system so you’re not so overwhelmed.”
For Renee, it’s important to understand what can be gained in residential care, rather than focusing on what a resident may be losing. “The interdisciplinary team takes on a lot of the thinking and planning – all the specialties worked together to anticipate Geoff’s needs and tailor programs. This allowed us as a family to focus on supporting him.”
Catch up with the latest Montefiore Spotlight Series videos and keep an eye on the website to see when the next one will be taking place.