MPs spend afternoon helping out at rest home

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 16:43 05/11/2012
Iain Lees-Galloway
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ

VOLUNTARY LABOUR: Labour MPs Iain Lees-Galloway (Palmerston North) and Kris Faafoi (Mana) spent a couple of hours working at Wimbledon Villa Rest Home in Feilding on Sunday. They serve afternoon tea and cakes to residents Jeanette Brown and Noel Broughton.

Iain Lees-Galloway
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ
VOLUNTARY LABOUR: Labour MPs Iain Lees-Galloway (Palmerston North) and Kris Faafoi (Mana) spent a couple of hours working at Wimbledon Villa Rest Home in Feilding on Sunday. They serve afternoon tea and cakes to residents Jeanette Brown and Noel Broughton.

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Politicians bearing tea and cakes were at the beck and call of a Feilding rest home's residents, as the pair washed laundry and scrubbed dishes to gain insight into Kiwi caregivers' workloads.

Labour MPs Iain Lees-Galloway, Palmerston North, and Kris Faafoi, Mana, spent their Sunday afternoon working at Feilding's Wimbledon Villa, a specialist dementia care facility.

Far from Parliament's comforts, the pair washed hands, helped with toileting, made beds and chatted with residents, all of whom live with stage three dementia.

Clinical nurse manager Bernie Lidiard said the patients were delighted with the attention and staff were happy to introduce the politicians to the life of a caregiver.

"We offer 24 hours care a day and the staff assist all the residents in their activities and daily living and that includes things like showering, dressing, going for walks," she said.

"It's a great opportunity for them to actually come out to look and see inside our jobs," she said.

"I think the residents have actually really enjoyed them being here, hearing different conversations, having them take them out for walks and make their beds."

Mr Faafoi has been touring New Zealand to learn about life in the carer industry to inform Labour policy and raise awareness of pay and conditions for staff.

The MPs said their experience would help them when it came to drafting policy around care as New Zealand faced a retiring baby boomer population that would require a robust carer workforce.

Part of that policy would include making carer careers a more "attractive" option for New Zealanders, Mr Faafoi said.

"They have got tons of empathy and compassion but unfortunately that doesn't pay the bills."

Mr Lees-Galloway was impressed by the efforts staff put into ensuring residents were comfortable.

"The staff have clearly built up some fantastic relationships with the residents and that is so important for them to be able to bring that to their work.

"They make it feel like home."

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- Manawatu Standard

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