Education & Training:
Building & Amenities:
Up close and personal with... Davina Rawiri
INsite chats with Davina Rawiri, recreation team leader at Enliven Aotea and Cashmere Homes in Johnsonville, Wellington about her recent experience in Japan attending the Young Core Leaders of Civil Society Groups Development Programme .
INsite: You were chosen to attend this year’s Young Core Leaders of Civil Society Groups Development programme in Oita, Japan – what an honour! How did you feel when you were selected?
Davina: Yes, I did feel very honoured to be selected. I couldn’t help jumping up and down with excitement when I heard the news.
INsite: The programme involved sharing your knowledge and experience with other young leaders who work in elderly care. Was this beneficial and what did you learn from each other?
Davina: The participants selected came from three fields: elderly care, disabilities, and youth, representing Japan, Denmark, Germany, and New Zealand.
Week one focussed on communication between not-for-profit organisations and public administration. The second week, the elderly care leaders’ theme was to “consider what support systems should be built in a community that will enable the elderly to live with motivation”, with a primary focus on countermeasures against dementia.
A successful measure from the Oita prefecture is the development of community resource maps. These highlight community organisations and local businesses that are “dementia friendly”. The staff and managers have attended dementia service education and are willing to support those affected by dementia to maintain their livelihood within the community. These businesses include shopping outlets, restaurants, hairdressers, schools, and dentists.
INsite: In an ideal world, what would the future of aged care look like?
Davina: I’d like to see greater education and understanding of dementia and age-related conditions, not only in the field of elderly care, but across all sectors of the community. I’d like to see all generations contributing to each others’ daily lives.
INsite: What was the highlight of your visit to Japan?
Davina: It is hard to pin it down to a single highlight. My cultural experience highlight was spending a day with my host family. They booked a kimono session – five assistants helped me to get dressed into the traditional garment, which I wore for the day while visiting a temple, a castle and a 400-year-old government house where we took part in a traditional tea ceremony.
As I am based in a residential home, my professional highlight was a visit to Yohkoku Fukushikai, a social welfare corporation providing day care and permanent care to elderly people. The equipment available was very high-tech. The staff to resident ratios are higher than in New Zealand, Denmark, and Germany. Similar to an Eden Alternative home, the layout encouraged small living communities.
INsite: Would you like to change anything about the way you do your job or the way Cashmere and Aotea Homes are run as a result of your time in Japan?
Davina: Yes. I would like to increase the amount of interaction we have with the community. Quite often, the first time someone enters a residential home is to find accommodation for themselves or a loved one. It can be a very daunting process and somewhat alien. Encouraging community participation in events and everyday activities could bring greater acceptance and understanding.
INsite: What do you enjoy most about your role as a recreation officer at Cashmere and Aotea Homes?
Davina: I really enjoy working with a team that helps to make a difference when someone’s life circumstances have been turned upside down. I love discovering people’s strengths and interests, then encouraging them to maintain a fulfilling life.
INsite: What led you into working in the aged care sector?
Davina: My mother worked as a cook in an aged care facility. As a member of Ngati Poneke Young Maori Club, we visited and entertained the residents. My first part-time job was cleaning there on the weekends. I decided to train in primary education, but having been exposed to the aged care sector from a young age, I realised I was passionate about working with the elderly.
INsite: What are the main challenges or frustrations in working within the aged care sector?
Davina: The main challenge is a lack of coordination between agencies. If we could work together more closely, we could achieve some of what Japan has worked on in their communities. There’s also a lack of political and central government strategy to make this happen – and a lack of money to do what we’d like to do.
INsite: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in aged care?
Davina: If you are keen to make a positive difference in aged care, research the wide range of positions that make up the sector. Visit places of interest to get a sense of what is involved.
INsite: What would you like to be doing in 10-15 years’ time, in a professional sense?
Davina: The services available in 10-15 years will have to cater for the added demand of our ageing population. I see myself in a senior management and teaching role, still working in the aged care sector.
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