McKenzie Aged Care Profile May 12, 2023May 10, 2023 by admin How Volunteers are Enhancing the Quality of Life for Senior Residents at McKenzie Aged Care As the population ages, the demand for aged care services has increased dramatically in recent years. While paid staff play an important role in providing quality care to elderly residents, volunteers also play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for residents in aged care facilities like McKenzie Aged Care. Whether it’s through providing companionship, organising activities or simply lending a listening ear, volunteers help create a sense of community and belonging that can have a profound impact on the wellbeing of elderly residents. Join us as we delve into the world of volunteerism in aged care with Senior Advisor Julie Murphy, and discover why it’s such an integral part of providing quality care to our elderly population. VGC: Tell us a little bit about McKenzie and the services you provide: Julie: McKenzie Aged Care has recently been bought by Bolton Clarke after delivering Residential Aged Care and Residential Village support for twenty years. McKenzie Aged Care was a private Aged Care provider commencing with their first facility in Melbourne, Victoria; wanting to provide a welcoming, warm environment and delivering a calm yet joyful ambience for the elderly in the community that chose to make McKenzie their home. They delivered exceptional resident care and service and offered a diverse, uplifting lifestyle and robust spiritual program. The homes have great energy, are tastefully decorated and all have beautiful gardens with paths for residents to wander. It has been a privilege to work with McKenzie Aged Care, now Bolton Clarke the past fifteen years. How have you seen volunteering help your organisation? Or can you describe a time when a challenge was overcome with the help of volunteers? Volunteers add richness to the lives of residents and enhance the Lifestyle Programs delivered at each home. Some residents enter the home with little family or social support and are often dealing with grief; having a volunteer to engage with, someone who takes time to actively listen to them and provide meaningful interaction is such a blessing. Volunteers come from all walks of life (we embrace diversity), we have carefully placed a volunteer with a resident we feel will benefit from their engagement/support, often looking to link them with a volunteer who has similar past life experiences, career, hobbies, family, spiritual connections, travel to name a few. I had a female resident some years back who had lived her life in Sydney, spending her latter years still in the same home she grew up in caring for her mother. Following her mother’s death she became physically incapacitated so chose to relocate to Northern Rivers to be close to family. Following her admission she suffered from depression, grieving the home and life she had left not to mention coming to terms with her disability. This beautiful lady was matched with a volunteer and over time she no longer required treatment for her depression, her mood elevated, she smiled and she not only looked forward to her volunteer visits but we found she started attending the occasional group activity. The friendship continued to blossom and albeit that the resident passed on a year later she died at peace and looked forward to and was very grateful for her volunteer’s visit and friendship. The connection made a huge difference to her quality of life. Why is it important to support Volunteering? Transitioning into Aged Care can be challenging for many, some have entered from the hospital from a fall or health event and may not be as psychologically prepared as they thought they would be. Others as they age may choose to enter care as they no longer feel safe at home but struggle with their identity. Whilst staff are engaging with their care and service due to time constraints they struggle to simply sit and engage for lengthy periods. Volunteers, however, have the time to listen, engage, nurture and bring joy. We value our volunteers by expressing gratitude, ensuring they receive a thorough orientation/onboarding, and regularly checking in on them, some may need to debrief at the end of their visit. They have a ‘go to’ person they are comfortable communicating with should they need to provide feedback; whether that be a suggestion, a compliment or raise a concern. How has Volunteering Gold Coast helped you with Volunteer admission? Volunteering Gold Coast (VGC) has not only a great reach when it comes to social media but is creative in their thinking, and has great knowledge around Volunteering options and supporting organisations to expand their volunteer base. They have volunteer support staff that take incoming calls, screen volunteers and refer prospective, interested volunteers to our organisation in a timely manner. Once we recruit the volunteer we deliver the support but know that a manager at VGC is always happy to receive a call and provide support; we value their expertise. Can you share a specific moment or experience during your time at McKenzie that has left a lasting impact on you? When you work in Aged Care you receive so much more than you give, it is a privilege and a joy to care and connect and to listen to so many uplifting life stories. Some people have endured very challenging, sad times and one can’t help but admire their resilience, courage and dignity. I had admitted a gentleman who had recently lost his wife, he was depressed and stated he just wanted to go. We organised a boat trip cruise in the hopes it might lift his spirit, and we ended up playing many games of cards together. We were both very competitive and overall he won to his delight. During the cruise, he also fished and you could see his mood had elevated and his smile returned, it was so heart-warming to see that transformation. These cruises are organised by raising money by selling aprons which are made by our sewing group, with this new information he immediately wanted to participate in organising another cruise! Within a few weeks, he had his wife’s old sewing machine! Not only did he make laundry bags that were sent to the Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, but he also progressed over the next few years to aprons and patchwork quilts. One even won first prize in the Murwillumbah Show! I think he made 100 pieces and all his children and many grandchildren benefited; such a beautiful keepsake. He got to enjoy many more cruises, the last one being a five-day cruise. A bit later we organised to attend a ‘This is Your Life’ function and this beautiful man was our first guest. We connected him with friends and family he had not seen in years, I can still see his shocked expression and the sheer joy as this was the first time in twenty years his children had all been in the same room. One Sunday night after I had stepped into a regional role he invited me to come in and say goodbye one last time and thank me for making him feel so important at the function. He peacefully passed away a few days later and I was privileged to be asked by his family to be involved in his memorial service. He is a star that is shining brightly and will forever have a deep impact on me. Upcoming events or exciting news? I feel confident that Bolton Clarke (recent purchaser of McKenzie) who is the largest independent not-for-profit Aged Care provider in Australia will continue to deliver a high standard of service to our senior community. Everything they do is dedicated to enabling, celebrating and supporting senior Australians. I have no doubt as we constantly strive to improve what we deliver there will be many exciting projects to come that will serve to enhance the Resident’s quality of life. Don’t hesitate to contact Volunteering Gold Coast to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved in places like McKenzie Aged Care Facilities. To view and apply for volunteering positions at McKenzie we have numerous different locations available: The Terraces Aged Care, Raffles Aged Care, Heritage Lodge Aged Care, and Sandbrook Aged Care.