Meet our Dementia Strategist, Ben Gatehouse
With the number of people living with dementia expected to rise to over one million by 2050, Japara is determined to support this critical area of aged care. Meet our Dementia Strategist, Ben Gatehouse, an industry leader in research, planning, and the implementation of care for people living with dementia.
The Dementia Strategist responsibility is to promote and ensure that each resident living with dementia lives a life which is enriched by the support and positive and active living environments we provide. Our Dementia Strategy also has a focus on valuing and respecting our resident’s individuality and endorsing a “Living life as usual in home like environments” culture. I also support our staff’s capacity to further improve their dementia skills so that residents’ quality of life is improved and complex behaviours are minimised.
How long have you been in your position?
I am approaching 12 months at Japara which has been a highly enjoyable and inspiring time.
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
Supporting the culture of our homes and staff to shift further towards home like environments and personalised support which is driven by a “resident experience first” mentality where personal choice and lifestyle diversity is a priority. We are challenging the status quo of aged care which will lead us into uncomfortable experiences and change management conversations but will ultimately result with our residents enjoying a better life.
What is the most exciting thing about your role?
I am always excited to be able to work closely with staff members across our many homes who bring a smile, energy and “can do” attitude to every aspect of their support of residents. The Japara Dementia Champions and lifestyle support staff inspire me with their positive attitudes and creative ideas.
What’s your favourite thing about Japara?
I have appreciated the Japara workplace where people are respected and valued for their opinions and knowledge, where there is a strong team culture and you feel as though you belong to a greater cause moving in the same positive direction. The people at Japara are generous with their time and willingness to step out of their own role to support others.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
Time is the luxury in my life so anytime I can walk the dog, ride the bike, watch the kids play sport, BBQ in the back garden and see Essendon beat Collingwood at the G is most enjoyable.
What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?
In the years ahead I would like to witness Japara being recognised nationally as the leader of residential homes for residents living with dementia, we have a way to go but we are on the right path. Personally, walking up to Everest base camp would a be nice little adventure that I would like to achieve one day.