Jenie is a Carer Consultant
for the community older persons mental health services
at SA health
. SA Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of all South Australians by providing leadership in health reform, public health services, health and medical research, policy development and planning, with an increased focus on wellbeing, illness prevention, early intervention and quality care. SA Health is the brand name for the health portfolio of services and agencies responsible to their Minister
, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. SA Health provides many important services to the South Australian community including public hospitals, metropolitan and country health service delivery, environmental health, communicable disease control, epidemiology, health promotion, pathology services, drug and alcohol services, emergency and ambulance, organ donation.
Jenie has lived experience of caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with Dementia. From 2008-2012, Jenie cared for her husband Kym, who had a rare form of onset Alzheimer’s disease called familial Alzheimer’s, as well as Lewy Body dementia, at the age of 41. Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control). Kym spent the last 2 and a half years of his life in an aged care facility.
Jenie was one of the family members who contributed to the design of the Neurobehavioural Unit (NBU) at the Repat Health Precinct in Adelaide, which she describes as both a healing and emotional project to work on. The NBU will be a centre of excellence for the care for people living with dementia in South Australia and it will include videoconferencing and telehealth facilities so the expertise of staff can be easily shared with clinicians in regional and remote areas.She and her children are members of a support group for families working through the challenges of younger onset dementia. She regularly draws on her lived experience in contributing to better care outcomes for these teams. Jenie is a facilitator at the Dementia Cafe, Surrey Downs, a northeastern suburb of Adelaide, a place where people with dementia and carers can be themselves, share stories, get helpful hints and enjoy good company.