Introducing our new Lifestyle Lead: Elizabeth Penman-Green
Elizabeth, known as Lizzie, brings a fun, enthusiastic energy and a wide smile to the team. As Lifestyle Lead, her role includes planning activities to help Birchwood House residents live the best day-to-day experience – one of her favourite sayings is “don’t count the days, make the days count”.
Before joining the Birchwood House team, Lizzie has worked as an activities coordinator for over five years. She has a level three health care qualification and is currently studying for her level five health and social care diploma. Lizzie is especially interested in and passionate about dementia care. Before beginning her career in care, Lizzie worked as a personal assistant for the managing director of a privately owned stockbroking company. Lizzie’s passion comes from her desire to make a positive impact on residents’ lives, as making other people happy is something that makes her happy too.
Lizzie’s passion for making a difference also extends to helping to make end-of-life wishes come true. Whilst working with Birkin Lodge Care & Nursing Home as Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Lizzie supported resident Lucy Pope, aged 91, to fulfil her lifelong wish to publish a book. Lizzie has also been featured on ITV for her role in organising a trip for 97-year-old Janine to see George Ezra perform live.
Below, Lizzie share’s some insight into her role at Birchwood House, and what drives her passion.
How would you describe your role at Birchwood House?
“My Role at Birchwood is a dream; they say if you find a job you love you will never work a day in your life and that for me is exactly how my job role feels. I am blessed.”
You’ve got lots of exciting things planned for the residents to enjoy this year, what are you looking most forward to?
“I am most looking forward to getting to know my residents better and creating everlasting bonds and friendships with them. Most of all I look forward to the smiles that I can bring to their faces daily.”
Could you please elaborate on the weekly activities schedule – how it’s prepared, what it involves and why it’s so important?
“I personally take the time to prepare the weekly activities planner, and this will adapt and change along with the residents wishes/desires and things they personally find interesting. I always use the method Mind, Body and Soul when planning activities and make it wide and varied. It is of upmost importance firstly that the residents are happy and secondly that they are stimulated, mental wellbeing is equally as important as care.”
What do you enjoy most about your job and where does your passion come from?
“Being able to be part of people’s lives that I would never of met had I not worked in care. The bonds and friendships I create enable me to make a positive difference to a resident’s daily life from the simplest acts, from giving a smile or a hug, to making people laugh and having a substantial impact on a person’s life.”
You have mentioned you have plans for a café to support people with dementia, can you please elaborate?
“Lizzies Helping Hearts is currently a Community Interest Company (CIC), and we are working hard on fundraising for the initial start-up. Lizzies Helping Hearts will be the first Dementia Café in the UK to provide free respite care to sufferers of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other brain cognitive disorders. We are holding a ball in Ashford Kent on April 27 2024 to raise funds for this, which will be a huge event. You can follow along on Instagram (@LizziesHelpingHearts).”
You can learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in our earlier blog post here.
While Lizzie has only recently joined the Birchwood House team, she has already organised a delightful array of activities and events to close out the year, many of which also involve the local community. This includes live performances like the Nutcracker, an ‘adopted grandparent’ pen-pal program, a carol service and a visit from an award-winning choir. She has thoroughly enjoyed meeting the residents and forming new connections with everyone as she works to create a tailored and enjoyable lifestyle for all. You can also keep up with Lizzie’s exciting activities and events on our Birchwood Care Group Facebook page.