Every Friday for 17 years Caroline has visited residents in a nursing home north of Sydney as part of Wesley Mission’s Newcastle based Community Visitors Scheme. She has become friends with a resident, Maurine*, who suffered a stroke a couple of decades ago and lost her capacity for speech.
Caroline herself has cerebral palsy, a moderate intellectual disability and limited speech. Caroline initially sat and did Maurine’s nails. It was something they both enjoyed. In the past few years, with speech therapy, Maurine has regained some capacity for speech and the women now converse.
Their Friday chats are so lively and engaging that other residents quickly get involved. It is all part of Caroline’s Friday routine, which includes going to the library and her favourite café. The enjoyable routine, her friendship with Maurine and chats with the nurses are all factors that have kept Caroline volunteering for so long. Caroline said she is looking forward to many more years of volunteering and encourages others to get involved.
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.