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Kilmarnock Heights Home volunteer inspires others

Kilmarnock Heights Home volunteer inspires others

Kilmarnock Heights Home volunteer Bev Simonsen.
Kilmarnock Heights Home volunteer Bev Simonsen.

When Bev Simonsen had a stroke 15 years ago it taught her the importance of having a positive attitude.

Today, Bev volunteers at Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home in Berhampore to remind people that there’s still life after illness or an accident.

Bev was 61 when she learned first-hand what it’s like to suddenly lose her independence when a stroke turned her life upside down.

“Before the stroke I had been a busy person who was in charge of my life and could walk and talk and come and go as I wanted – I had independence,” Bev explains.

“Then I went to being someone who was totally dependent on others and I had to reconnect my brain again; it was like starting right back at square one.”

Bev’s positive outlook on life is what gave her the strength and will-power to focus on her rehabilitation. Now she helps to inspire others who aren’t as independent as they once were to do the same.

“I like to focus on the positives and find things that people can do and things they enjoy. No matter how bad it is, there’s always a glimmer of hope and happiness.”

After answering a call for volunteers by Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home 10 years ago, Bev has spent one day a week at the home ever since.

“I went along to an educational evening at the home and they needed more volunteers because they wanted to introduce the Eden Alternative. I quite liked the Eden idea and thought I’d give it a go,” says Bev.

The Eden Alternative is an elder-directed model of care that uses 10 principles that focus on variety and spontaneity, companionship, contact with children and animals, continuing hobbies and meaningful activity, which volunteers are a vital part of helping to provide.

“People aren’t sitting and staring into space with nothing to do here. It’s not a closed-in medical institution, it’s a lovely home.”

Kilmarnock Heights Home is always in need of volunteers to help support the activity programme, share their hobbies or interests, play music, or simply spend one-on-one time with the residents.

To find out more about Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home, located at 20 Morton Street in Berhampore, or to express your interest in volunteering, call 04 380 2034 email kilmarnockheights@psc.org.nz or click here. 

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