Frontier Services Behaviour Advisor Stephanie Charlesworth has won a national award for her commitment to improving the quality of life for people with dementia in the Northern Territory.
Ms Charlesworth was presented with the Employee Award at the HESTA and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Aged Care Awards on Tuesday, 12 September, at a presentation dinner in Sydney.
“It was a complete and utter surprise,” said a humble Ms Charlesworth. “I am very happy, but I couldn’t have done it without everyone else in our team.”
Ms Charlesworth works with the Frontier Services NT Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) providing clinical support, assessment, advice and education to carers and those with dementia.
The award recognised Ms Charlesworth’s dedication and enthusiasm to look for innovative ways to improve outcomes for people who have dementia or who care for a person with dementia.
Ms Charlesworth’s nomination highlighted her efforts to learn YolnguMatha, a local Indigenous language so she can better communicate with clients in East Arnhem Land.
“Learning the language is a way to connect with people and with dementia it is really important to make that connection,” she said.
Ms Charlesworth has been involved in developing specific resources for carers of people with dementia. Requests for the resources have come from across the country.
She has also completed a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and studies in Aromatherapy to build on her skills.
The annual HESTA and ACSA Awards recognise excellence in contributions to improving quality of life for older people, people with disabilities and their carers.
Ms Charlesworth won the SA and NT Aged and Community Services Employee Award in June. She was selected from all the state winners for the national award.
Still on a high from receiving the accolade, Ms Charlesworth said it was an unusual feeling to be acknowledged for something which she considered to be part of her everyday work.
“What we do, we do naturally. Every day is different and we are not sure what challenges we are going to have, but we do it because we love it.”
“It is extremely rewarding to see someone whose life has changed because of some intervention you have made.”
“I love to see someone smile, more than anything; particularly someone that hasn’t smiled in a while.”
“It’s not work, it’s what we do.”
NT DBMAS Program Manager Judy Ratajec said the award was well deserved.
“We are very proud of Steph. She is a quiet achiever who does great work.”