PRES­TI­GIOUS HON­OUR

Strat­ford’s Jac­inta Ste­wart wins care­giver award.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY SALLY COLE sally.cole@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Sal­lyForth57

When Jac­inta Ste­wart was re­lax­ing in her seat at the De­men­tia Friend’s Lead­er­ship Lun­cheon at the Rodd Char­lot­te­town Ho­tel re­cently, she was sur­prised when she was asked to come up to the podium.

“It’s shock­ing to be con­sid­ered in the same cat­e­gory as the pre­vi­ous win­ners of this pres­ti­gious hon­our,” says Ste­wart, re­cip­i­ent of the 2017 Ferne Steven­son Care­giver Award. This rec­og­nizes a care­giver who ex­em­pli­fies com­pas­sion in per­son-cen­tred care, while pro­mot­ing pro­grams and ser­vices for those af­fected by Alzheimer’s dis­ease and re­lated de­men­tias.

Mar­ried to her hus­band Ray­mond for the past 37 years and the mother of two chil­dren, Jeremy and Jef­frey (still­born), she has been sup­port­ing and car­ing for her fa­ther, Bill Mur­phy, 85, for seven years, vis­it­ing him daily while he re­mains at home, on his jour­ney with de­men­tia.

“Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent. On av­er­age I spend seven days a week with him; usu­ally ar­riv­ing at 4:30 p.m., af­ter work, and stay­ing five or more. Some­times a lady comes in to sit for a cou­ple of hours. We’re try­ing to main­tain him in his own home,” says Ste­wart, who jug­gles her care­giver re­spon­si­bil­i­ties with her day jobs as an in­ter­viewer for Sta­tis­tics Canada, team leader/beauty con­sul­tant for Mary Kay Cos­met­ics and vol­un­teer team leader for Look Good Feel Bet­ter, a pro­gram for can­cer pa­tients.

Oth­ers note her ded­i­ca­tion.

“She is an amaz­ing, tire­less care­giver to her fa­ther. She finds time in her busy sched­ule to spend time with him, mak­ing sure he is well taken care of,” says Asifa Rah­man.

Ste­wart says the se­cret to lead­ing a busy life is keep­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about ev­ery­thing I do. The Lord has blessed me with the en­ergy and pas­sion to do what I have to do,” says the Strat­ford res­i­dent who goes “above and be­yond” her com­mit­ment as a care­giver and vol­un­teer for the so­ci­ety.

Ste­wart has as­sisted with P.E.I. Farm Day, shared her mes­sage with Is­landers in news sto­ries as well as serv­ing as a guest dur­ing Alzheimer Aware­ness Month. She has also pro­vided the poster pic­ture for the Christ­mas Direct Mail pro­gram, fa­cil­i­tated sup­port groups and was guest speaker at the Walk for Alzheimer’s and Blue Moon Ball for Care­givers.

In ad­di­tion, she’s an older sis­ter to Bo­dine DeWitt as well as grand­mother to Is­abella Rose, five, Char­lotte (still­born) and Carolina, three months.

Now, re­ceiv­ing the award has in­spired her even more.

“I’m hop­ing to use this beau­ti­ful piece of art/no­ble award to cre­ate aware­ness in how in­di­vid­u­als in the com­mu­nity might be able to as­sist a fam­ily who is liv­ing with Alzheimer’s or de­men­tia. That would be a won­der­ful way to put this fan­tas­tic piece of art to some good use help­ing other fam­i­lies.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Lynn Mur­ray, left, pres­i­dent of the Alzheimer So­ci­ety of P.E.I., con­grat­u­lates award win­ners fol­low­ing the re­cent De­men­tia Friends’ Lead­er­ship Lun­cheon at the Rodd Char­lot­te­town Ho­tel. From sec­ond left are Dr. Jack­alina VanKam­pen, di­rec­tor of the Alzheimer So­ci­ety of P.E.I. and re­cip­i­ent of the De­men­tia Friends Lead­er­ship Award and Jac­inta Ste­wart, re­cip­i­ent of the Ferne Steven­son Care­giver Award.

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