It is said that when you’re at your lowest point in life, there is nowhere to go but up, and my WOTW is just one of the people proving just that after a series of unfortunate events ended up putting her right on the path that would lead her to greatness and most importantly, happiness.
Regina Posvar is a 50 year old Alzheimer’s Consultant/Registered Nurse of over 23 years and was recently highlighted in the local news with the launch of the new St. Lucia Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association of which she is the president.
Although the association is sure to raise numerous discussions, it is Posvar’s story believe that is in need of highlighting.
Posvar, who is originally from California decided to make some major changes in her life by firstly moving to another state following the death of her first husband: “I was raising two children by myself and I just wanted to start all over…we do weird things when we’re grieving, so that was one of the weird things. Anyway, I didn’t know anybody out there so I had to pay for child care. Now, when you’re working as a nurse, you have to stay until the other person comes to relieve you. If you abandon your patients you can lose your licence. So I was in a pickle, because the state of Oregon told me that if I didn’t come to pick up my child on time, they were taking her to the Sherriff’s Department and I would be marked down for child abandonment. That would have put me at risk of being investigated for being a bad parent, so I chose my child and left to call my boss up. I said you need to come here now because I need to go pick up my child. The boss did come to relieve me, but my thought was ‘this is going to happen again; and so I called the nursing board and they were the ones who introduced me to assisted living facilities.”
This was when Posvar discovered that with this facility, the patients who mainly suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease needed care and supervision but they did not need 24 hour nursing.
This, she said, was her introduction to the world of the neurological conditions as she was taken a back by the approach to care.
Years later, she moved to St. Lucia two years after her current husband moved here, and almost immediately began liaising with an Alzheimer’s patient.
During that time, Posvar said her eyes were truly opened to the extent of which the island was lacking in knowledge, information, support and treatment with regard to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
She said: “St. Lucia needed more help and so instead of just changing jobs all over again I just stayed in the field that I was familiar with and had compassion for, and realised that this is going to affect us all.”
Posvar said she wanted to make a difference so with the launch of the new association, she is ready for the challenges that she is sure to face: “I’m not sure what’s going to happen but I do hope that it reaches more families…I hope it reaches more people wanting to support the families because we’re going to need each other, we really are.”
On the other hand, she said she is fully confident in her team.
Just listening to the passion in her voice when speaking about her zeal to help people, The VOICE asked her: “Where is it all coming from?”
Posvar replied: “I do a lot of reflecting on myself and I’ve always wanted to make myself a better person. I’ve learnt that we are lacking as a whole society in the connection to people and I believe that this lack of connection is causing some of our illnesses. What happens when we’re working in our rushed world is that we’re doing and doing and we’re helping and we’re dealing, but we’re not having fun and we’re not enjoying life. We’re not staying connected to this so called God that we say we worship or go to church every Sunday and all of that. And it’s actually scientifically proven that that’s how we were wired…in love. We’re forgetting the love and forgetting the gratitude and the thankfulness of what little we have.
“I live in a beautiful country right now and half of the friends I know don’t even go to the ocean and enjoy it…that’s mind boggling to me but I relate because I did the same thing in the US. We have beautiful areas out there and I didn’t go see all these places whilst I lived there. We let life just pass us. So I’m compassioned and compelled to help people open their minds and just heal their minds so that we can live longer and healthier.”
When I asked her to share her secret with us, it came as no surprise. She is a shrinking violet…in other words, she is extremely shy. “Everyone can be a bit shy but I’m painfully shy especially to speak in public. The first time I had to stand up in front of class to give a report, I just started off and then ran out of the class and I never spoke in front of groups again until I became a nurse and had to teach some of my staff.”
On a serious note, Posvar falls right in line with my list of Super Sheroes as the Association is a much needed in St. Lucia. Hopefully, Posvar and her team will make a difference in how St Lucians react to and treat Alzheimer’s and dementia.