Welcome to Waihi Lifecare Julius – please tell me a little about yourself and what your role is in the Facility

My name is Julius Vicente and I am the Diversional Therapist at Waihi Lifecare. I finished my Certificate in Diversional Therapy and Community Health at the Kauri Academy, Auckland campus in November 2019. Prior to becoming a DT in New Zealand, I worked in China for almost 12 years as an Early Childhood Instructor – this  included children with special needs. I conducted activities through play, music and arts which allowed children and parents to interact socially.

Residents at the beach

Tell me how you kept the residents entertained and happy during the Covid 19 lock down period

I started my DT job in this facility just before the level 4 Covid 19 lockdown was implemented nationwide. Outside contractors like entertainers coming to the facility were all stopped in compliance with the Ministry of Health guidelines to keep our residents safe. This gave me the opportunity to use my musical skills, previous experiences, and trainings I got from my study. I took over all the entertainment sessions for our residents with my acoustic guitar, facilitated Church Services and introduced fresh games for our residents to keep them engaged. 

What were your most challenging moments and how did you overcome this?

I am actually grateful for working here so the challenges have been minimal. This is due to the fantastic support that I have received from management and the positive attitudes of our residents. However, keeping all 40 residents attention and catering for their different needs is probably the most challenging aspect of the job. To overcome this I plan one on one activities like short talks/walks, or providing individual activities such as solving puzzles which is important to keep residents mentally stimulated.

What have you implemented since level 1 and what plans do you have for the Waihi Lifecare residents in the coming weeks/months.

Lifting of lockdown restrictions was a great help to all but especially for our residents. I have been taking them out for some fresh air at the beach and visiting farms to see and interact with animals. Fresh or modified activities such as volleyball or bucket balls will be introduced in the coming weeks. We will keep the activities that our residents love doing but they will also enjoy listening to different artists who will be coming to entertain them starting in July. I’ve also been in contact with the DT in Athenree Lifecare for our residents’ joint activities.

Thankyou Julius and all the best for your future at Waihi Lifecare