News & Events

Residents favour tolerant talk

August 18, 2017

Participants in some of Australia’s most popular television and radio current affairs programs could learn a lesson from residents at Liscombe House. Each Tuesday residents gather, along with volunteer Fay Cameron, to discuss what’s making news. Fay admires how the topics, no matter how controversial, are discussed with respect and tolerance. No matter how strongly views are held, participants encourage each other to have a say.


It’s one reason why Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Fay’s favourite days of the week – because she is at Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility. They are the days she leaves her own worries and cares at the gate and throws herself into her volunteering.


Every Tuesday Fay gathers with a group of Liscombe House residents for a current affairs discussion. The following day she is back for a happy hour of wine, beer and chips and lots of singing.


She began at Leith Park, OCAV’s village at St Helena, a year ago after retiring from a long career that ended as a school library technician. Prior to having children, Fay volunteered through her local Primary School to transport a young student to and from special physiotherapy sessions during school time. She also drove visually impaired people to and from their craft sessions once a week. Fay promised herself she would do it again when she retired.


“Volunteering is such a wonderful two-way thing because you contribute something to the community, but you get so much more out of it. I love my volunteering; in fact they are my two favourite days of the week,” Fay said.


Tuesday’s current affairs session attracts a small but dedicated group keen to talk about important local and global events, though they shy away from some issues that take an emotional toll on everyone, particularly terrorist attacks around the world. The group determines what the conversations will be about and some people come along to listen and prefer not to throw their ‘two bobs’ worth in to the mix.


“Once we start talking about things like education or transport we often digress and the residents talk about those issues from the perspective of experience. They talk about what it was like many years ago and their views about things now. It is very interesting to hear them discussing topics that are still relevant today,” Fay said. “It’s great to see people really listen to one another and think about what is being said, even if they don’t always agree.”


“Some people think that when someone gets old and comes into care that they are immediately disconnected from the world. That is so wrong; these people are connected and they know what is happening in the world and they want to hear what other people think. The motto here is, ‘ a discussion is better than an argument’.”


The tempo changes on Wednesday for Fay when she comes to Liscombe House to help run happy hour. She plays waitress, serving drinks and chips to residents and joins the pianist to sing old favourites. Like the current affairs group, residents can come and listen without feeling any pressure to join in the singing.


“Happy hour gives a lot of the residents the opportunity to enjoy social things that they did years ago when they were a bit fitter. They can gather together, have a beer, sherry or a soft drink and enjoy a sing-a-long. Honestly, it’s the best place to be on a Wednesday.”


Fay highly recommends volunteering to others. She couldn’t wait for retirement, but when it came she didn’t know what to do with it every day. So she became part of the OCAV village at Leith Park and loves it.


Caption: Fay Cameron and resident Norma Amaras discuss the news.

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