The Care and Share program is a social support programme for individuals 65 years old and over, which is aimed at preventing isolation in older individuals in the local community and enhancing their general health and wellbeing.
Janine Callegari, Care and Share Program Manager, said they decided to start a Work for the Dole activity to encourage more people to get involved in aged care.
‘It’s fantastic to get younger people into care services, especially men. They provide care and interaction from a different perspective, and bring different conversation, skills and thoughts.’
The Work for the Dole participants, Darrin Brown and Bradley Keys, engage with, and support the seniors through a range of tasks on a daily basis, and have gained most of their skills and training on the job.
‘Darrin and Bradley help to organise and run daily activities and information sessions,’ Janine said. ‘They play games and puzzles with the elderly participants, assist them with using electronic devices, support exercise activities, assist with lunch set-up and pack-down, and generally just mingle and socialise with them.’
The participants have also had the opportunity to organise and run educational sessions based on their own interests. Darrin has run a music session and Bradley organised a herbal-remedy information session; both were a great success.
Janine said the effect the Work for the Dole participants have had on the programme’s senior participants has been multifaceted, intergenerational, and is a true display of a community in action.
‘Bradley and Darrin have had a great impact on the older individuals in the programme,’ she said. ‘They’ve brought in a younger focus, different social interactions, and a ‘blokey’ perspective on things. The older individuals have really loved it; the laughter, stories, sense of humour and company.’
Participating in the Work for the Dole activity has also had a positive impact on Darrin. Janine said that ‘the elderly participants have noticed that Darrin is happier, more confident, more engaged, and more interactive with the elderly’. She further noted that having played scrabble a lot, Darrin’s vocabulary had increased too.
Darrin is now considering a career in the industry and is in the process of gaining his Certificate III in aged care, and looking into disability courses. ‘He is friendly and bright, and will be an asset to anyone who employs him in the future’ Janine said. Bradley continues to care for his wife but remains interested in a career in aged care.
‘The Work for the Dole programme has been so rewarding…we would use it again in a heartbeat’.