Stratford’s Jacinta Stewart wins caregiver award.
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.”
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.