A special kind of visiting

A volunteer with the St Jude’s Community Visitors Scheme, Viv brings both her personal warmth and her professional background as a special education teacher to visiting at Minda:

“I’m amazed that it’s almost three years since I began to visit Ron and Charmaine in the Pat Kaufmann Centre, the aged care facility at Minda.  Minda provides support to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Charmaine has Down Syndrome, and is now very limited verbally, so our conversations are pretty one-sided. I was therefore pleased to hear her say, “Christmas card,” with a big smile on her face when I gave one to her a couple of weeks ago. Over the time I have been visiting I have taken pages of stickers in for her to do; ‘’dress the dolly”-type activities; some simple colouring in; and I’ve read stories to her. More recently, I’ve  been helping her to finish her breakfast if necessary, finding a wheelchair and taking her out into the lovely grounds for a walk. She shows that she enjoys this by clapping her hands in anticipation, which is heart-warming.

Ron used to work in the kitchens at Minda, but now his muscle strength has declined and he spends his time wheelchair-bound. He enjoys looking at the local Messenger newspaper which I take from home, and we talk about items of interest to him. I think it helps him to keep in touch with the outside world a little. We have worked on simple craft activities over the years and I have a few 20 piece puzzles which we enjoy doing together. If he’s  interested we might go out for a walk, sometimes going into “Sarah’s Café on the Minda campus to read the Advertiser. Ron definitely does remember me and my name between visits, whereas I think Charmaine recognises me, but she does not know my name.

In the past 6 months, I’ve made another friend in the Pat Kaufmann Centre! Lindsay is personable and chatty, telling me about his regular visits to his sister nearby, and about when he lived with his parents. He loves going out for walks in the grounds. He certainly knows who I am, but often calls me Julie Andrews !”


January 2018