Leonie Friedenfelds – A Ray of Sunshine
“Nearing the end of life is the time when we should honour them even more.”
Resthaven Community Respite Services Home Support Worker, Leonie Friedenfelds, began her career with Resthaven 19 years ago, but she is still as passionate now as the day she started.
Starting out as a carer at Resthaven Marion, early in her career, Leonie appreciated the importance of supporting quality of life for residents, particularly those who were nearing the end of life.
Leonie was motivated to complete her nursing studies, knowing that a nursing career could help her to become a part of this important and meaningful role.
After two years, Leonie changed to Resthaven Community Respite Services, as a Home Support Worker, and has been there ever since – using her sunshine to bring happiness and positive energy to all her clients.
Leonie says, ‘Clients often realise that they can still achieve when they had given up, and that they still have a lot to offer. It’s about what they can do – not what they can’t.’
As a Home Support Worker, Leonie has witnessed that her clients are able to live longer, and in turn, learned first-hand how vital her role is in supporting the quality of life of her clients.
One of these clients is Myra, who Leonie first met 14 years ago, when Myra’s husband attended the ‘Shed’ program. Leonie says, ‘I first assisted Myra by making her bed as she was having trouble with her hands. After Tom passed away, Myra still wanted me to assist her.’
‘A day with Myra involves changing the sheets and laundry, after that we could be doing gardening, and occasional shopping.’
‘Myra talks over her concerns with me, and shares amusing stories. I learn a lot from her experiences.’
‘Myra knows that I will do exactly what she wants and how she wants it.’
So why has Leonie stayed with Resthaven for so long? She explains that it is the ‘constant support and diversity that I have received and observed during my time here,’ along with ‘the immense meaning that I find in helping clients’ lives improve every day.’
Leonie also loves the diversity of employment available through Resthaven: ‘There is no need to leave Resthaven if I was feeling that I needed a change; I would just move into another area of providing care,’ she says.
‘If I was so inclined, I could work towards being a Program Assistant or Coordinator and still be with the same team.’
Furthermore, Resthaven is not just a workplace for Leonie, but a community – a community whose values align with her own.
‘All people need to feel safe, valued, in control of their lives and have a purpose. Resthaven’s values of trust, dignity and choice fit with that,’ she says.
Staff and clients alike appreciate Leonie’s hard work and many years of service over her 19 years. Here’s to many more!