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Gwendolyn de Geest, BSN MA

Gwendolyn de GeestGwendolyn has a passion to enhance the quality of life for seniors and has knowledge of the issues that are important to them. Gwendolyn has been an educator in the Bachelor of Science Nursing Department both at Vancouver Community College and Camosun College.

As a frontline practitioner and as an educator Gwendolyn has worked with, and supervised students in nursing homes, hospitals, and special care units as they care for the elderly. Gwendolyn also has engaged with family and professional caregivers as they deliver the very best quality of life to the elderly client, resident or patient.

Gwendolyn completed three years of study and research at the University of Victoria Center on Aging, supervised by Dr. Holly Tuokko. The title of this project was “The Relation Between the Perceived Role of Family and the Behavior of the Person with Dementia.”

As a result of devoting over two decades to working with seniors and their family caregivers, Gwendolyn has compiled hundreds of stories sharing family lived experience of caring for loved ones with dementia. The title of this book is “Living Dementia Case Study Approach.”

Gwendolyn serves on the Board of Directors of the Eldercare Foundation. Also, she part of the CRD working group for Good Life With Dementia.

Gwendolyn lives in Victoria with her family, where she enjoys yoga, nature walks, cycling and gardening.

Knowledge of Seniors' Issues

As a result of working in dementia care for over two decades, Gwendolyn has experience working with seniors as a frontline practitioner, and has knowledge of the issues that are important to them. Because of working with hundreds of family and professional caregivers, who are caring for persons with dementia, she has admired and respected the joys and sorrows that these individuals have endured as they navigate the journey.

Although the professional caregiver is delivering the very best care to the person with dementia, the family member will visit and may perceive that something is missing. Why is this? Where is the gap in care? How can family and professional caregivers work together in a timely and caring manner?

Creative Solutions

To answer these questions, Gwendolyn has created “The Circle of Care” model. This Model provides creative solutions to allow professional and family caregiver to

  • embrace one another in caring for the person with dementia
  • work together to maintain a quality of life for the senior
  • “bridge the gap” and display a sense of harmony

As a result of this partnership, the senior will benefit from knowing that there is a harmony and cohesiveness directed towards delivery of their very best quality of life.

A husband said one day, “I don’t know why everyone calls her a resident. She’s not a resident. Mary is my wife, and my only concern is for her comfort.”

Senior Concerns

The above dialogue with the family caregiver illustrates some of the pressing concerns of seniors today. Some of the concerns are:

  • the need for time spent with them; many seniors today suffer from social isolation and loneliness
  • the need for love; they need to give and receive many hugs each day
  • the need for respect and recognition; this is critical to elevate their sense of self-worth
  • the need for our patience and understanding; one full moment can be a very long time to wait for a response
  • and most importantly, the need to feel a sense of empowerment

During many years as a frontline caregiver, Gwendolyn has created a knowledge database compiling the needs and concerns of seniors.