Extending the hand of friendship

 

To help her fellow residents ease the transition into their new home, Opal Roxburgh resident Cicely Bartley has launched a program she calls Hands of Friendship.

Moving into residential aged care can carry with it a mix of emotions for different people and these feelings can be increased if it’s an unexpected or unplanned event that brings about the need to move. Having experienced these emotions herself, Opal Roxburgh resident Cicely Bartley decided there were ways that she could help her fellow residents ease the transition into their new home.

At 90 years of age, Cicely certainly isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. She volunteers within the home, including sitting on the food focus group and the health and safety committee, together with spending time with people living with dementia. It’s this energy and desire to be part of a community where everyone has a voice that led her to launch the program she calls Hands of Friendship.

When asked about her program, Cicely says, “It’s simple really, when someone new moves into our home I ensure that they have someone to talk to and ask any questions they might have. I provide them with simple things to make them feel at home, like magazines and word puzzles, and most importantly, a friendly ear to listen.”

Cicely says she likes to find out about each person and their individual interests. She continues, “Often it’s as simple as finding something that they’re interested in around our home and getting them involved and feeling like they are part of the community.”

Cicely also makes time to spend with other residents who don’t have family or friends nearby to visit them. One of Cicely’s granddaughters, Bianca is a psychologist. She says that after a career in business and production planning, her grandmother has finally found her true calling and would have made a wonderful therapist herself.

Cicely is not so sure, she says, “I’m just a positive person and love to spread that positivity to people around me. It’s what keeps me young!”