Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smiles weave magic while sun sets

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THE dedicated carers of the aged deserve as much gratitude and support that the rest of us can spare during our busy lives.
The jobs require a lot of skills and professional discipline mixed with genuine compassion and empathy.
Anyone who has ventured among the dementia sufferers and other high-care patients in a nursing home can feel the weight of emotion that everyone – staff, patients and visitors – must handle with dignity.
The atmosphere can be heart wrenching but there's also a lot of joy, and that's what Rosevale Court manager Ben Cox focuses on when talking about his two decades' work in aged care.

ROSEVALE Court, a high-care facility, was built about 10 years ago on the site of a former rose nursery at Victoria Point. It is home for almost 140 residents and employs 180 staff.
A Thank You notice appeared in the Classifieds this week from the families of three deceased Rosevale Court residents.
The families thanked "the staff and administration ... for the care, respect and care shown to our loved ones".
Ben says the centre staff certainly appreciate the public expression but another group also plays a big part in the lives of everyone at Rosevale Court.
"Smiles are catching," he says. "And that's what all of us get from the many volunteers who come here.
"The more volunteers, the better service we can give.

BEN jokes that some volunteers "come in just to stop anyone cheating at bingo" but then clarifies that the residents with sight problems need some help.
"We have volunteers that just sit and talk to the residents about their lives and others who go shopping for those nicknacks that are needed; we have many residents who do not have family to do that for them.
"A group of men comes in to spend time with the male residents, and the poetry society comes in to read poetry.
"Several volunteers just help the staff and take out the morning tea; one volunteer folds laundry.
"Most of the volunteers want to have some form of contact.
"This week we had the Russell Island Singers, a group of eight, to entertain."

THE benefit of music to those in such care is widely acknowledged. Ben said there were occasions when residents who did not speak would suddenly sing along, surprising their carers and fellow patients.
The federal government agency Aged Care Australia says volunteers play an important part in the health care system and "form the community’s most valuable hidden asset".
Ben says the biggest benefits are the smiles, and Rosevale Court values them above all else.

Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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