A carer who shed six stones over 18 months is literally jumping up and down for joy after being shortlisted for a top award.
Helen Bevan, a team leader at Llys y Seren residential home, Port Talbot, is using the extra energy she acquired following the weight loss to join in health and fitness activities like cycling and swimming with the dementia patients she cares for.
“There’s no stopping me now. I’m up for all sorts of sports and fun events,” laughed Helen who was delighted on hearing she is shortlisted to receive a gold, silver or bronze accolade at the Wales Care Awards 2019.
The awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on Friday, October 18, hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
Helen is nominated in the Excellence in Dementia Care category, sponsored by All Care South Wales and College Fields Nursing Home.
Llys y Seren manager Karen Rogers said Helen is a role model for her peers and a highly deserving nominee.
She said: “More often than not staff with her guidance are starting to better understand dementia and the practical ways of dealing with residents with challenging behaviour. There has been a remarkable effect on the staff and the positivity of working on the suites with residents who have dementia, all thanks to Helen and her commitment.”
Mum of two, Helen, 46, of Sandfields, Port Talbot, has worked in the care sector since she was 16 and over the years has nurtured a special affinity with dementia patients.
She is an avid believer in tailoring care to each individual. She said: “The word dementia covers a massive umbrella of difficulties. People are affected in varied ways and it’s impossible to come up with a one policy suits all approach. That’s why I like to spend time with the individual and learn as much as possible about their lives.”
Helen learned that one of her residents used to love cycling so she organised for her to go on a bicycle adventure to the beach.
She said: “We got hold of a three wheeled bike for her and I went along too on another bike. Having lost so much weight it was a lot easier for me to pedal!”
She also organised a swimming session focused around another resident with a passion for swimming.
Helen has also recently taken up running which she says gives her even more energy to go the extra mile to improve the lives of patients in her care.
“I love my job, it’s so rewarding, but it’s not a job where you clock on and clock off. If you’re in the middle of something at the end of a shift you carry on with it till you’re finished. It can be quite emotionally draining and it’s hard to switch off, but that’s where running helps me to wind down.”
Helen, who has a grown up son Thomas, 26, and daughter Katie, 21, thanked her parents, Catherine and John for supporting her career: “Without them stepping in to babysit when the kids were younger and being there for me, I wouldn’t have been able to progress as far as I have.”
Chair of Care Forum Wales, Mario Kreft, said Helen was an example of the many wonderful people in the care sector for whom it’s not just a job but a vocation.
He said: “These are the people who really do have the X Factor and whose contribution deserves to be spotlighted through the Wales Care Awards, which are now a highlight of the Welsh social care calendar.”
He added: “The aim is to recognise the unstinting, often remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
“If you don’t recognise those who do the caring you’ll never provide the standards people need and never recognise the value of people who need care in society.
“We must do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce who deserve to be lauded and applauded.
“It’s a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”