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Closing the generation gap

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Catholic Healthcare was delighted to host a group of St Ignatius’ College Riverview boys to Lewisham Nursing Home and Gertrude Abbott Aged Care Surry Hills recently. The boys, from Year 7 to 10, volunteered their time as part of St Ignatius Day celebrations.

Residents enjoyed chatting to the boys about school, sport, their interests and hobbies, often finding common ground as they shared their life stories. The residents also enjoyed the company of these young men who enthusiastically helped them get to lunch and joined in the activities of the day.

Year 10 student, Christopher Martin, found the experience eye-opening.

“I’ve completed service at other aged care homes and I love how it gives you a new perspective on life,” says Christopher. “You can come in with a stereotypical view of the people living in aged care, but once you get to know them, find out about their stories, where they lived and worked, their families and friends, you can really develop a connection.”

Toby Smith, also in Year 10, is a boarder at Riverview whose family has a property in Nyngan.

“It can be challenging in the beginning to start talking to the residents, but once you start they really open up,” says Toby. “It’s good to bring back memories for them and make them smile. I was speaking to Margaret about where she grew up in Dublin, Ireland and she worked as a school teacher.”

Lewisham’s Recreational Activities Officer, Lota Estole, welcomed the boys and says it’s important for both generations to interact.

“The Riverview boys visit every year and they always get involved in the activities of the day,” says Lota. “They joined our active Men’s Group this time and played carpet bowls. The boys and residents had a lot of fun together.”

Sue Norman, Catholic Healthcare’s Volunteer Manager, says the school visits are always beneficial for both students and residents.

“The residents get the opportunity to engage with the young people and students get a chance to speak to older people who have lived full and varied lives,” says Sue. “For some students the visits can even be a career developing experience. The employees benefit too as the students help out and bring some joy to their day.”

Pictured are the Riverview boys with the Mens Group