Narrogin’s Rebecca Evenis has received Alzheimer’s WA dementia change champion award after dedicating her career in aged care to innovatively supporting people with dementia. The dementia-specific carer has been working in Narrogin Cottage Home’s Maxwell Dementia Wing with a team of staff to find new ways to support their residents. Ms Evenis received the dementia change champion award at a ceremony in Perth on Monday. “I started out as a young carer and back then people living with dementia didn’t have a lot of choice, not at the fault of the carers, but I don’t think that sat right with me,” she said. “One day I just tried something different and had a much better response, and then I changed my whole thought process on how to treat people with dementia. “All of a sudden I was communicating with them in a really beautiful way.” Ms Evenis chose to further her education around dementia care and she now she trains staff on how to deliver person-centred care. “To keep the Maxwell Wing dementia-friendly and keep the person-centred care going, I designed different duty statements and training tools for the staff,” she said. “They have an orientation pack to follow which will encourage them to read the residents’ profiles before starting to care for them, so they know exactly what the residents need because they are not always able to communicate their needs. “I need to advocate for the residents so that the staff understand their language, how they want things, and if something is not right.” One of the ways Ms Evenis and her team made the dementia wing more resident-friendly was by creating breakfast menus with pictures of the food. “I try to be a leader In the way that encourages staff to come up with their own innovative ideas,” Ms Evenis said. “One of our new kitchen staff is absolutely excellent and he came up with the idea of a picture menu for breakfast. “People with dementia can’t always recognise the word but they might recognise the picture, so they can pick the photo of what they would like for breakfast. “We also implement things like a rest period, meditation session, and aromatherapy, which are all small things that make it a peaceful environment. “So many little day-to-day things can change the life of someone with dementia and make their life run smoothly.” During COVID-19 lockdowns, the team created resident-specific activity boxes to help keep people entertained while confined to their rooms. “As a collective, the therapy department thought about how we could keep these people entertained if they have to stay in their rooms,” Ms Evenis said. “So we delved into their personalities, and for people with dementia it’s most likely what they did 40 years ago and what they enjoyed back then, but also adapting that to their abilities today. “We created person-centred activity boxes for each resident and we got fantastic compliments on them.” NCH chief executive Carla Sanders nominated Ms Evenis for the Alzheimer’s WA award. Ms Sanders said Rebecca was selfless in her approach to helping staff and residents at their facility. “The most consistent feedback in regular family surveys is the glowing accolades about Rebecca and what she does for the families and their loved ones,” she said.