Scholarships

Master Practitioner Bianca Briggs - Her Inspiring Story

‘Due to the geBianca_Briggsnerosity of the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life of accepting me for the scholarship I was able to attend the 3-week Spark of Life International Master Course in May 2012.

I was able to go back to my workplace as a Master Practitioner to spread the news about the amazing effect that Spark of Life can have on not only our client and residents, but on our staff as well.

At the Master Course I learnt so much about human nature in its rawest forms, and the science that goes behind the proof of how and why Spark of Life is so successful. This course truly made a difference to my life in the way that I see things, and the way that I display myself to others.’

Bianca Briggs is the Client Coordinator for At Home Services, Brightwater Care Group, Perth Western Australia,  which caters for people living with dementia in the community. Bianca is also a Spark of Life Master Practitioner, receiving a scholarship from the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life in 2012.

BiancaMarkAwardsOn 5 June 2015, Bianca received the Employee of the Year Award for Aged and Community Services in Western Australia for her innovative community initiatives including – ‘Memorable Morning Teas’. Using the Spark of Life Philosophy Bianca developed a supportive and caring café community for people with dementia and their families.

Bianca started her Memorable Morning Teas in response to her experience that in the community there seemed to be a lack of awareness that people living with dementia are still people, that the community often only sees the disease, which scares them.

Bianca approached the café next door to her workplace and spoke to the Manager. She found that he too had this impression of people with dementia so she said, ‘What if I can change your mind about that? Would you be interested?’ The Manager replied, ‘Of course, absolutely!’

This became the start of a very close working relationship. Bianca arranged to provide education for the café manager and 30 of his staff in the Spark of Life Philosophy and communication techniques. She was able to give them the insight that people with dementia are just like everyone else and how to look deeper than the diagnosis of dementia.  

Bianca enabled the café staff to discover simple strategies when clients with dementia had difficulty identifying their money or making choices from the menu. She has found that the staff now feel empowered to use their own initiative and are looking at how they can enable people with dementia to participate in the community without exacerbating any challenges they may face.

‘Since we’ve started up our morning teas we’ve actually got some of our families coming back to this café on their own, and inviting all of their family back because this café is very accommodating of people with different needs,’ Bianca said.

BiancaWendyTea‘My aim is by the end of this year that people living with dementia and their supportive partners will fill the whole café at our Memorable Morning Teas.’

A beautiful extra outcome is that the café staff love it as well and for two of the staff members this education and experience has been so positive that they now request to come in on their days off for the Memorable Morning Tea so they can assist the people who have dementia and ensure they have a wonderful experience.

The café staff even keep an eye out for their regular café patrons who have dementia and are very concerned if someone does not come in on their regular days. Now when this happens they contact Bianca so she and her team can visit the person and make sure they are OK.

The café staff are creating genuine community spirit that enables people with dementia in their community to remain at home due to their attentive caring and kind support.

Bianca sums it up wonderfully, ‘So, yes, this is another beautiful story where Spark of Life has given people with dementia another chance to stay in the community that they might not have had.’

 

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