Awards for dementia care centre officer
A WOMAN whose “life purpose” is looking after people with dementia has won two major titles at the social care Oscars.
Pam Cuffin won gold in the Dignity in Care category, sponsored by the Welsh Government, and silver in the Excellence in Dementia Award at the prestigious Wales Care Awards (pictured).
An activities officer at Fairways Newydd Nursing and Dementia Care Centre at Llanfairpwll, Pam said: “It was a brilliant night, but now it’s back to what I do best. Looking after people suffering from dementia is my life’s purpose.”
The event, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, was held at City Hall in Cardiff. The awards are organised by Care Forum Wales, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
The Dignity in Care gold was presented by Huw Irranca-Davies, Welsh Government Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care.
The Excellence and Dementia Award was sponsored by HC-One Ltd, which operates more than 300 care homes throughout the UK, and Pam’s silver was presented by Ana Palazan, director for Wales, Parkinson’s UK Cymru.
Pam used a diary she and her sister kept about her father’s experiences of dementia to help other sufferers.
Her father died in a nursing home in 2014 and soon after her sister also tragically passed away.
But she wrote a book based on her and her sister Joan’s diaries about her dad’s battle with dementia and her fascination with the disease and those living with it has continued to grow.
Pam, aged 57, who lives in Holyhead with husband Robin, was nominated by Mark Bailey, managing director of Fairways Newydd Ltd.
After her father died she took a job as a carer in a residential home, then a full-time job as an activities co-ordinator at Fairways Newydd Nursing and Dementia Centre and for the first time could give free rein to her desire to provide ‘meaningful activity and genuine occupation to people living with dementia’.
“People with dementia come alive before your eyes,” says Pam. “Cognitive decline just slips away as soon as you tap into a skill from the past.”
Pam has established Bleak to Chic, a furniture renovation business, with residents living with dementia.
“Local auction house Morgan Evans of Gaerwen have been very good and taken items without charging a fee,” she said.
“We paint our renovated furniture in very bright colours, yellows and reds and never greys or browns which are normally associated with dementia.
“The colours are like a beacon of hope.”