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Singing Life's Praises

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When Barry moved from his home in Melbourne to St Catherine’s Aged Care in Bathurst, he initially struggled to make the adjustment.

“In all honesty when I got here I wasn’t happy about coming,” says Barry. “My kids brought me here because I wasn’t looking after myself in Melbourne, and initially I was pretty suspicious about the move,” he adds.

A natural performer and a larger than life character, Barry had enjoyed theatre for more than 20 years prior to leaving Melbourne. Looking for ways to stay active and busy, he continued to sing as he settled in at St Catherine’s. However not all was well.

“I was singing every day and then all of a sudden my voice just disappeared. My throat, my voice, everything. My doctors have done all they can to get me singing again but it’s been six to eight months. Losing my voice like that was terribly depressing for me. I thought it was all over,” says Barry.

All was not lost, however. Thanks to the creative mind of John Moran, St Catherine’s Art Therapist and the work of the dedicated and caring staff at the Home, Barry has found his voice in other ways.

Instead of singing, Barry has begun acting in short films directed by another resident, made with the assistance of John. Barry has also started painting, contributing to many of the large murals painted by residents that pepper the walls of St Catherine’s.

Barry is grateful for the opportunity to stay active and engaged, and do the things he loves.

“I can’t speak highly enough about coming here. I’m so grateful to John and the people in charge for looking after me. From a bloke who thought ‘this is all over for me’ when I first got here, it’s been marvellous,” says Barry.

John believes that entering aged care doesn’t mean that we should give up doing the things that make us happy.

“People coming into aged care should continue doing what they love,” says John. “We must get used to residents coming into our Homes with different interests, tastes and activities. They may want to listen to various genres of music, do art or enjoy meditation. All sorts of things. We must adapt to accommodate that,” he adds.

With energy being spent into activities he finds interesting, Barry is content.

“I’m very comfortable now. I’m close to my kids, I’ve got my weekends and I’ve got my acting and painting. I’m not a bingo man or anything like that. Being able to make films has brought me back to life. I can honestly say that I’m very lucky,” says Barry.