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Richmond Care Home Staff go the extra mile to communicate with new resident

Mealtimes at Carefor Richmond Care Home (RCH) have been extra special since trained chef Jessica Hamalainen joined the team last November.

Residents have been receiving more than just delicious home-cooked meals, but also another caring heart that has made a world of difference during these past challenging months. For a new deaf resident who was recently welcomed at the 16-bed retirement home for women living with dementia, Jessica went even further in ensuring she feels safe and happy.

“I thought it would be interesting to learn American Sign Language (ASL) so that I could communicate with the new resident,” Jessica shared, noting that she has self-learned 300 words and counting.

“Living with dementia is hard as it is, so to be also deaf, I can’t imagine how challenging this must be for her.”

With the help of an occasional ASL interpreter that trains all staff, Jessica has become the resident ASL communicator at RCH. Now, a special bond has formed between the deaf resident and Jessica.

“She’s able to express her feelings … I can see she’s happy.”

The switch from working in hospitality to healthcare hasn’t been easy, but Jessica describes her experiences at RCH as rewarding: “It has been a huge learning curve, not only in the sense of being in a new role of caring for people living with dementia, but also learning a new language to engage with one of our residents. [That said], I love going to work. I see the difference we make in their lives.”

“We all need some sort of assistance at some point in our lives. Supporting these services means supporting your own community, your own self,” she added.

Moving into a new home can be an emotional experience for both residents and their families, but our lovely Richmond Care Home staff are there to cater to the personalized needs of all our residents. Thank you for all you do each and every day!