Award-winning support worker Hema Abeyatunge from Hounslow was invited to address a major international conference of healthcare professionals on Growing Older with a Learning Disability.
Hema who works at Chertsey Road, a residential care home managed by Regard in Twickenham made a presentation at the 2015 BILD Ageing Well Research and Practice conference in Birmingham in November.
She talked about her expertise in caring for older individuals, to help delegates gain a better understanding of the experiences and needs of people as they age from her perspective as a support worker.
By 2030, there is likely to be a 30 per cent increase in the number of adults with learning disabilities aged over 50 using social care services.
“It is a huge honour for me to invited to stand up in front of such an esteemed group of experts and tell them the kind of challenges we face as people working with individuals in residential care,” said Hema.
“I work with five ladies who have complex needs and learning disabilities and my job is a complete joy and gives me a huge amount of satisfaction helping people lead the best lives they can.”
Hema recently won the ‘Supporting Older People with Learning Disabilities’ Lord Rix Award at the National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards 2015 and for being ‘instantly engaging and inspirational’.
She was praised for successfully supporting one woman she cares for at Chertsey Road who had a phobia of dogs which meant going out in public could cause her acute anxiety.
Hema supported the woman gradually to overcome her fear that was having such a negative impact on her life to the extent she now looks forward to seeing her nephew’s dog at weekends.
Aliza Rahman, Service Manager at Chertsey Road, said she was delighted Hema had been selected to talk at the conference and to provide delegates with the benefits of her experience.
“Hema is an incredibly hard-working carer and her dedication to the people she supports shines through. No task is too insignificant for her to tackle. She simply jumps in and gets the job done.
“She is such a pleasure to have around with her can-do and conscientious attitude. She is always bursting with enthusiasm for her work and takes on everyday tasks willingly – never as a chore.”
Chertsey Road is a registered residential care home for up to five women with learning disabilities and complex needs helped by a dedicated team of support workers to become more independent in their everyday life.
The BILD conference, held at Aston University, explored research and practice related to ageing and people with a learning disability and how these influence policy development and the provision of good support.