Jennifer Lynch is home manager at Oakleaves Care Centre
Do you take regular exercise and, if so, what?
I used to work 12-hour shifts on my feet, but since changing roles to a less active one, I find more than ever that daily physical activity is important. It can be difficult to find time for ourselves, but self-care is a huge part of my life. I find the one thing that helps my mental and physical health is daily walks with my dog. I live near a forest and every day we spend a good hour letting off some steam.
What is the worst illness you’ve had?
It goes without saying that nurses are the worst patients (my husband will agree with this) and we are not used to falling sick. Having said that, I have a vivid memory of taking swine flu a few years back and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been confined to bed. I am lucky in that I’m rarely sick.
How healthy is your diet?
My honest answer to this is I love my food. I do not believe in fad dieting and I aim to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, as I find this is where I get my energy from, but I also love my treats of a Chinese and Indian takeaway on occasion. As they say, all in moderation.
Any bad habits?
I think, as a nurse, one bad habit we all have is that we never fully switch off. It has taken me a long time to practise self-care and look after myself, as well as others, and this is a work in progress. I find if I do not look after myself I become fatigued and do not make healthy choices.
Do you drink or smoke and, if so, how much?
I am pleased to say I gave up smoking two years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. I do enjoy the odd glass of beer, especially if on holidays. Again, all in moderation.
Do you take any supplements?
I do not take any supplements at the minute. I try to get all my nutrients from fruits and vegetables, although I should be taking omega 3 as I’m not a fan of fish.
How do you take time out?
I am very fortunate to have a great team and we help and support one another, especially encouraging each other to take a break. I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and dog and I love a good holiday in the sun.
How well do you sleep?
This is something I think I have inherited from my mum: I have always slept like a log. I aim to get at least nine hours a night, which is never an issue.
Do you worry about getting old?
Having been in the caring industry for the past 19 years, I do not worry about getting old. I see first-hand how much care provision and delivery has evolved over the years and care homes are full of interaction and activities, with the staff always adapting to residents’ needs. I love the personal connection we build with residents and their families and I am incredibly lucky to do a job I absolutely love. My role allows me the opportunity to feed into how our care is delivered, especially for dementia care, which is so important to me. I enjoy working closely with the local community, as well as Dementia NI, organising fundraising activities.
What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
I do not have a go-to product as such, but I do try to have a good water intake daily — my aim is two to three litres. I find that if I am good with my water intake then my skin looks fresher and I don’t feel sluggish.
Oakleaves Care Centre is situated on the Racecourse Road in Derry-Londonderry and has just marked its first anniversary, following a seven-figure investment. A 42-bed premises, the care centre is a vital resource to the local community as it provides speciality care to those living with dementia. For more information visit larchwoodni.com