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War Vets celebrate two years of Spark of Life Sunshine Club
Levin Home for War Veterans recreation officer Mary and Stokes and Sunshine Club member Ruby McEwen.
Levin Home for War Veterans recreation officer Mary and Stokes and Sunshine Club member Ruby McEwen.

Enliven’s Levin Home for War Veterans celebrated their Sunshine Club’s second birthday in July 2016, and the difference it’s making.

The Sunshine Club is part of the home’s unique Spark of Life Philosophy to dementia care.

Developed by Dementia Care Australia, the Spark of Life Philosophy has been internationally awarded for its whole systems approach to facilitating rehabilitation for people with dementia.

Spark of Life focuses on connecting with the person in a profound ways and understanding their perspective. It is also using practical ways of interacting so people with dementia become reconnected to the world around them,” explains Enliven’s Spark of Life Master Practitioner Davina Rawiri.

Davina recently completed the International Spark of Life Master Course in Australia, following a successful fundraising appeal that saw Enliven raise almost $20,000 to support the organisation to embed Spark of Life practices.

Spark of Life really works. We see improvements in language, memories triggered, people are happier and they interact more with each other, their families and staff,” says Davina.

Levin Home for War Veterans diversional therapist Felicity Jefferies says the weekly Sunshine Club for residents in the home’s dementia unit, Matai Cottage, is an interactive therapeutic group program that can awaken dormant abilities and enable people with dementia to improve.

She explains that it is the club facilitators’ ability to connect and engage with the club members that make the real difference.

“People with dementia can often withdraw into themselves, and the Sunshine Club helps them to come out of their shell again. It’s about inclusion, socialisation, bringing back memories and igniting the human spirit,” says Felicity.

“Everything we do as part of the club has a purpose to it. We use practical skills and resources that are specifically designed to boost their self-esteem, stimulate memory, facilitate discussion and improve cognitive function, all while being a joyful experience at the same time.”

To celebrate the Sunshine Club’s second birthday and the powerful results stemming from the approach, Levin Home for War Veterans held a birthday party for club members.

Volunteer Colleen Wilton, who attended the party and helps with the Sunshine Club, says she’s noticed first hand the difference Spark of Life makes.

“One resident who is usually unresponsive came to the Sunshine Club. She was laughing and making eye contact which she usually doesn’t do and she was able to communicate again.”

Levin Home for War Veterans is operated by Enliven, part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian support Central, and provides rest home, hospital and dementia care from its location on the corner of Prouse and Matai Streets in Levin.

To find out more about Levin Home for War Veterans free phone 0508 ENLIVEN (that’s 0508 36 54 83) or click here.

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