A Sydney Mum to four kids (including twins!) is actively changing aged care and dementia care in Australia…
Tamar Krebs knows that her life purpose is to improve the accommodation and care for people living with Dementia.
The first group home was set up in St Ives. The reason why you have not seen this or why you have not seen the logo is because Tamar sets up the homes to be just that- homes. She wants them to blur into the leafy suburb and street and not stand out. She wants the residents to live with dignity and respect. She wants families to feel that they are simply visited a residential home.
As a little girl, Tamar was very close to her grandfather. When he passed away, he had his entire family at his bedside. In his final moments, as he looked around the room, his eyes fell upon Tamar and he fondly spoke his final words, “I love you, Doll”.
Though still in her pre-teens at the time, Tamar never forgot this poignant moment and remembers that Sam experienced ‘a beautiful death’.
This event fuelled an ambition to work in the area of caring for older people for whom her affinity and affection had been nurtured in these formative years.
Tamar presented 38 times to investors to raise capital for her dream.
Tamar worked in aged care for over 18 years managing nursing homes, and dementia units. She started to ask herself why we as a society feel the need to warehouse our elderly?
If we live our entire life in a community surrounded by friends and family then why at a persons most vulnerable point in their life do we lock them away from society, their familiar suburb and why do we focus on their disability?
All this lead to the search for people to be able to age in a HOME that LOOKS, feels and smells like a home in a person’s familiar suburb.
Tamar ensures that the homes are nestled within local communities. The local communities are friendly and warm to residents. She ensures that homes are modern yet safe. The homes are beautifully designed and decorated.
Residents can choose to eat together a one of the lovely dining areas or they can eat alone or in their rooms if they chose to do so. They can still enjoy tasks like cooking or baking, visiting the shops to purchase ingredients for a favourite recipe, assisting with hanging washing on the line, gardening and even hosting a BBQ with assistance.
Dementia advocate and sufferer of early onset dementia, Kate Swaffer, recently visited three of Tamar’s homes.
Kate was so overwhelmed and grateful to Tamar Krebs for bringing such a compassionate and nurturing ‘residential care home’ to Australia.
In an open letter of gratitude, Kate states:
“I would, quite happily live in one of their homes… They have somehow found a way to ensure autonomy and safety are working in harmony, in a way that does not seem to demean anyone, or make anyone feel locked up. “This style of residential accommodation and care is the best I have seen in Australia.
Kate expected to see the logo emblazoned on the gate or door of each home. However, the homes are indistinguishable and blend into their individual suburbs and streets providing dignity to those living there.
Kate exclaims: “I definitely had no sense I was visiting a ‘facility providing residential care’. There were people in rooms folding up the washing, staff and residents in the kitchen preparing meals; smells of cooking, and not a hint of urine. Doors that opened out onto gardens and recreational areas, with washing lines, and one even with a swimming pool. Laundries in working order, various areas to sit and relax or play cards or watch television.”
She then adds: “Staff who sounded and looked like family members. Family members sitting around relaxing waiting for a mother to return from some shopping…Dining rooms, allowing for mingling and shared meals, and smaller eating areas allowing for more privacy.”
Kate concludes: “ This is the FIRST time, and ONLY time, I have felt I would or could move into ‘residential care’. As a person living with a diagnosis of dementia, I cannot tell you how much of a relief it felt to see someone who ‘gets’ it, and who has taken such a risk (financial, and professional) by refusing to do it as everyone else is doing it, and following their intuition, their heart, and actually ‘doing it’ so well.
We should all be inspired and proud of this Mum who has actualized her dream and life purpose whilst being the mother of four children. Tamar’s energy and passion is awe-inspiring.
Tamar Krebs is a Mum to four kids, including twins. She is also the founder and CEO of Group Homes Australia. www.grouphomes.com.au