A Denbigh care worker who transformed the lives of an elderly couple is still on cloud nine after picking up a double award.
The efforts of Sharon Aspey in supporting the married couple who had become institutionalised after more than 10 years in hospital were recognized in the annual Wales Care Awards, known as the “Social Care Oscars”.
The awards are organized by Care Forum Wales to reward excellence in the care sector and the ceremony took place at City Hall, Cardiff.
Sharon, 44, not only won a silver award in the category for Supported Living, which was sponsored by Harlech Foodservices, but was also a joint winner of the Dignity in Care Award. The category was sponsored by the Welsh Government and the presentation was by Health Minister Mark Drakeford.
Sharon has worked in the care sector for many years, as have several members of her family, and after 10 years in the mental health care field transferred to supported living in 2011.
She is employed by the Denbigh-based firm of Embrace, where her sister Diane is manager, and in November, 2014, she was promoted to Senior Support Worker.
Her role is to support an elderly couple who decided they wanted to move out of the psychiatric rehabilitation unit where they had been living into the community. Previous attempts to integrate them had failed.
With the help of Sharon and her colleagues, however, the couple have become active members of the community in the Denbigh area and are re-engaging the skills they had not used for many years.
Her achievements in managing the transition and subsequently supporting the couple was what prompted Embrace’s regional manager Ryan Brummitt to nominate her for the award.
He said that Sharon had faced many challenges because of the couple’s behaviour but thanks to the persistence and care of her and her team they were now settled in their new home and there are plans to reduce the amount of support provided.
Sharon, whose daughter Kirsty is also a carer with Embrace, commented: “It is so rewarding to see the progress that the couple are making,” she said. “They may seem like little steps to most people but to them they are massive – like meeting me at the Lidl store instead of me having to take them there myself.”
“It was a wonderful night and I can’t believe that I received two awards. I didn’t even know anything about the dignity award beforehand,” she said.
She was accompanied to the event by her proud sister Diane who was tearful as she hugged her.
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.
“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.
“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.
“We take our hats off to them.”