Did you get to see any of the ABC’s Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds? Wasn’t it great to see the life that the children brought to the residents, and equally the life that was shared by the residents with the children!
You will be interested to know that Blue Care has been doing this for a while. The following is a story from Pilgrim Aged Care in Kallangur.
Welcoming children at Pilgrim Aged Care Facility
While you may not expect it, our residential aged care facilities work to create welcoming environments for children. Pilgrim Care Facility in Kallangur is just one that creates a welcoming space for children when they come to visit.
“We have many grandchildren and family members visiting residents and we want them to feel welcome. It makes residents so happy when their grandkids want to visit our service,” said Lifestyle Officer Karen Meiklejohn.
“We have board games the residents and families can play if they choose and a bird aviary where the grandparents can take children for a walk to see the birds.”
Recently the service also hosted children from LEAD Childcare in Mango Hill. The residents learnt songs and dances from the children. They played together and told stories, building beautiful friendships.
“When the day care visited our service, the residents talked about it for days,” said Karen.
Resident Leslie said, “They were all beautiful and so well behaved; I enjoyed the activities and the children visiting us. It was absolutely gorgeous.”
Another resident Dorothy agreed: “I love them all. It was fun and enjoyable. They were wonderful. I enjoyed learning the songs and actions.”
Have you, as a congregation, ever thought about partnering with a Blue Care Residential Aged Care Facility? Redcliffe Uniting Church is currently exploring a partnership with Azure Blue (Blue Care Residential Aged Care) to begin an intergenerational playgroup. If you would like to talk with Paul or Bec Clark about this, email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of UnitingCare’s services is “Out of Home Care”. The following is a recent story about Williams House.
Kids empowered to live life to its fullest at Williams House
Kristina*, a bright, articulate teenager, is one of four young people who live in Williams House, a unique residential home for children who are unable to live with their families.
Kristina was full of praise for her residence and for the youth workers who care for her.
“I’m just lucky. We have good carers who love us. They support us when we’re up or down. We have a lot of opportunities and we’re really spoiled. I love it and I feel at home here,” said Kristina.
Tai* and Melissa*, fellow residents, were also positive about their experiences at Williams House.
“I like the Egg Chair, wi-fi, the food, Xbox, the house and the youth workers. There’s sometimes chaos, but aside from that, it’s a pretty nice house,” said Tai. Tai also spoke of being bullied in other residential homes, not part of UnitingCare.
Melissa added, “The best thing about the house is all the carers as they genuinely care, and the other kids when they are nice to me.”
Nathan Skaines—Service Leader at Williams House—said they were piloting an innovative new program to support young residents deal with complex trauma. The program, with the help of two specialist occupational therapists, will work with the young people to use their five senses to self-soothe when they are feeling stressed or upset.
“We will have sensory items all through the house so that they are simply absorbed within everyday routines and events rather than being seen as a conscious, therapeutic practice by young people.
“It’s common now to see two young people playing Xbox—one furiously rocking on the vestibular stool and the other clutching the weighted cushion, while they battle it out on the screen.”
Nathan explained that models being trialed in the US have produced extraordinary results. They include increased attention and concentration, increased quality of sleep, improved school attendance and engagement, increased motivation and improved social relationships.
Williams House is part of UnitingCare’s out-of-home care program for children who cannot live in their family home and are in the care of the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.
A significant challenge for the young people we serve is that at some stage they will have to leave the residence and make their own way in life. UnitingCare is looking to partner with congregations who may be able to help “wrap around” these young people a network of safe and supportive people. Building such “wrap around” relationships may come through youth activities, volunteering, mentoring, tutoring, being a volunteer driver for those looking to make up their 100 hours…plus other ways that might be imagined. If you’d like to explore this with UnitingCare then please contact me.
If you would like to talk about how you and your congregation can be in community partnerships with UnitingCare, phone Peter on 0418 433 193 or email email@example.com
Rev Peter Armstrong
Rev Peter Armstrong is a Uniting Church minister in placement at UnitingCare Queensland in the role of Associate Director of Mission – Community Partnerships.