Enliven’s Kandahar Home was a very different place when Liz Garden started working there in 1988.
She joined the team initially as a volunteer. Over the next 17 years worked as a trainer then was a care worker when the original dementia unit opened in the home in 1992.
“Nobody talked about dementia much back then,” Liz remembers. “I used to do a lot of sewing so I created all sorts of things that the residents could use. We’d also take the men out to the old men’s shed and they’d tinker with a hammer and nails.”
Her memories were some of many that were shared recently by about 50 former Kandahar Home staff at a reunion.
“We’ve had little brief get-togethers before, but we decided we’d like to get everybody together that we can,” says Liz, who was one of the organisers.
She says staff who attended the event mainly worked at Kandahar Home between the 1980s and early 2000s. Some long-term staff who still work at the home also came along.
“We had cooks, cleaners, nurses, enrolled nurses, and even a few ex-managers come along – some of them hadn’t seen each other for 30 or 40 years!”
The reunion involved a lunch and a “real gossipy” session, Liz says. Many former staff also brought along pieces of memorabilia from their time at the home, including old name badges and photos.
Liz said a few of the former staff hadn’t been to the home since they left, and the changes and upgrades were a treat for them to see.
For Liz, she has retained her connection with Kandahar Home and Court. She visits the home and the specialised dementia unit once a month to hold reminiscing sessions on a volunteer basis.