James Mbatia Knuthia
Founder Sj Remedial Homes and Fourshifts Homecare, Nairobi, Kenya
James Mbatia has both academic, and hands on experience in healthcare. He has a diploma in Clinical Medicine and Community Health and has worked for many years as a carer before setting up his own organisations to support people with dementia in his community, especially those who live in poverty.
He is a CommonAge Ambassador and heard about the Spark of Life Model of Care through this network. He chairs 3 eldercare organisations: Kiamanyisho Mbatia Initiative Kenya for caregiver support, Partners in Care Homes Ilc, and SJRemedial Care Homes.
Sj Remedial Home Kenya was initially purposed to provide care to senior citizens, being the first for the locals in the grassroots level villages it’s mandate was diverse from taking care of people living with Dementia, to those who need palliative care, filling up the gap which existed for many years.
James’ vision is to elevate the quality of his residential and community care services through the Spark of Life Model of Care, to enrich the lives of those he supports, including their families as well as facilitate rehabilitation.
James Mbatia was awarded a scholarship from Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life to become certified as a Spark of Life Master Practitioner in 2021, so he could achieve his vision of positively influencing the lives of people with dementia in Nairobi and to enable his service to become an inspiring role model for others in Kenya.
James explains what adopting the Spark of Life Model of Care means to him, and his service:
“Being a Spark of Life Master Practitioner has really confirmed the many testimonials I’ve witnessed about the Spark of Life Model of Care in the past eight years, now looking forward to do even better and benefit the community more efficiently and with required knowledge.
Although we are looking forward to create more awareness, the reality is that the reception is overwhelmingly unbelievable, our daily calls and messages concerning rehabilitation of those living with Dementia has remarkably increased.
This has enhanced level of ownership, confidence, enthusiasm and leadership felt across my team. Having our two supportive partners attending the Spark of Life Rehabilitative program via Zoom was a helpful support.
One of our residents used to tell others who he was, (as he thought they did not know) but after the introduction of the Spark of Life Name Memory aids, he no longer repeatedly does so. Thus there is a new feeling that he knows people know who he is, and now he doesn’t need to keep repeating his name to everyone. He knows everyone can read his name, and this has given him quite a settling and reassuring feeling.”
James giving an education session on dementia to his local community in Nairobi:
World Elders Day 2021 celebration hosted by Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Television Station (KBC) 1st October 2021:
Summary translation of this interview:
Interviewer: “We as Kenyans will also celebrate the International Day of Older Persons by having James M. Kinuthia the Founder of SJ Remedial Homes Kenya, and to begin with, we’d like to know “how are you celebrating this day?”
James responds: “As older persons are still being left out in so many things in our communities I consider this day’s celebration theme is to promote digital inclusion for older persons. We celebrate by creating awareness every year by organizing an event bringing our care facility friends and its population together which also brings our intergenerational program into reality.
I believe the reason why we now have care facilities developing in Kenya is because of rapidly ageing population, improved economies, education, innovations, movement of population, looking for jobs globally and challenges that come with ageing, especially dementia care. This is our specialty- implementing Spark of Life Model of Care.
Families tend to be overwhelmed and need professional care, despite having much love for their loved ones. They tend to seek help from our dementia care facilities. For instance you might find older person left alone in a homestead because their spouse has died, divorced or separated. You also find siblings have settled and are working in other countries. As a result, the next of kin seek help from us. Being offered good care for their loved ones, enables families to work with minimal stress. We encourage relatives visit, organise outings/holidays for their loved ones, thus bringing happiness to the caregiver and to the one being cared for.
In conclusion older persons should be given the opportunity to continue feel loved and valued, so as to be able to realise their potential. Secondly it is essential to protect their rights and take up blessing opportunities, thus facilitating more harmonized and loving communities.”
James participated in the following presentation with feedback about the outcomes of their implementation of the Spark of Life Model of Care in Practice.
Facilitating Best Practice Through the Spark of Life Model of Care, Hosted by the Global Ageing Network, September 20th, 2023: