Sitting at a café in North Brighton, having a chat over coffee, it’s hard to believe that Home Support Workers, Michael and Greg, are at work – but they are!
As Home Support Workers for Resthaven Community Respite Services, part of their job is to facilitate the weekly ‘Men About Town’ social group, taking a group of older gentlemen out for a range of cultural outings, followed by coffee and cake at any number of local cafés.
Michael says, ‘If you want to do a job that’s rewarding, this is it.’
‘You see the joy on people’s faces, that connection.’
Greg says, ‘The group always enjoys the outings, which usually have two parts – there’s the venue we go to, which creates momentum and discussion. Then we go for coffee afterwards, which we all look forward to.’
Having been a primary school teacher for 30 years prior to working with Resthaven, Greg is a people person who ‘loves meeting new people and hearing their stories – it’s awesome.’
Michael couldn’t agree more, saying, ‘There’s always something different.’
‘The clients give us ideas for outings – one gent was the son of the engineer who built the Mount Bold Reservoir, so we did a trip there,’ he says. ‘It was remarkable to have him along.’
‘Another idea was a trip to the majestic Moreton Bay Fig Tree, planted in 1868, from Mr Bevan Shearer. That was a good one.’
Mr Shearer, who has been attending the group for around 18 months, explains how important the group is to him, especially since his wife died.
‘My wife encouraged me to come in the first place,’ he says, ‘She felt that I was not mixing outside enough.’
‘Now, it’s good to have something to look forward to, to go see something interesting.’
‘I like the museum in particular, and the art centres can be quite interesting.’
‘I also like the outdoor trips; we went to a community garden at North Brighton a few weeks ago.’
‘It gets me out of the house, and it’s good meeting people and relating to people – you bond together after a while.’
‘And the carers look after you very well.’
Michael and Greg certainly take their jobs seriously – but not too seriously: ‘We’re just blokes shooting the breeze around the coffee table!’ Greg says with a laugh.
Michael adds, ‘The men will say “thank you, it’s great today,” and it’s just a great experience.’
‘We all end up chatting and just enjoying our time together.’
‘We’re here to make a difference. The clients really appreciate what we do, and that’s what it’s all about.’
Resthaven Community Respite Services provides short term and overnight respite stays and small group outings, giving carers of older people a break from their caring role. To find out more, phone 8198 2060.