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24 September 2022
Residents enjoy a range of interactions with furry and feathered friends in Salvos Aged Care centres.
The Salvation Army has provided aged care in Australia since 1899. Today, across Australia, there are 21 residential centres, seven retirement villages, one respite centre and multiple Salvos Home Care services. One of the vital services at many of these facilities is chaplaincy.
Chaplains play an important role in Salvation Army Aged Care centres, providing emotional, social and spiritual support to residents based on values including dignity, respect, integrity, diversity and collaboration.
“The Salvation Army Aged Care is a new adventure with new opportunities, where you (residents) can meet new people,” says Cynthia, chaplain at Woodport Aged Care Centre on the NSW Central Coast. “It’s a chance for you to learn more and share your story. I appreciate the opportunity to be there for them, and it’s important to let them know someone’s there to help them.”
Janice is a thriving member of the centre. “She loves it and wishes she could’ve done it sooner,” says Linda, Woodport Lifestyle Coordinator who works closely with the chaplains. “The group setting is better, and it’s helped her to improve her independence. It’s made her life a bit more complete.”
“We become a real community here,” shared Vicki, a chaplain at the Gill Waminda Aged Care Centre in Goulburn, NSW. “We love our residents and spend time with them. We become good friends with them. Sometimes, as they reach the end of their lives, we might be the only family they have. We pray with them and spend time with them. Some of them may not have a faith process, and that’s okay.
“One lady here is 101 years old. To talk with her about her life experiences and all she has seen is lovely. Getting to know more about our residents is one of my favourite things.”
Christine, another chaplain at Gill Waminda, said: “One of the gifts that has been given to us is to have Sooty the dog with us. He comforts our residents, and they are very attached to him. He also goes to the hospital to see our residents, particularly those with dementia.”