News & Events

Judy’s Christmas joy for residents

December 9, 2019

Judy Drill, who began volunteering 10 years ago, makes Christmas cakes, and residents at Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility, get to enjoy watching them being decorated in the lead up to Christmas. Some residents even help cut out pieces of icing that are used.

Each year Judy makes the cakes and Liscombe House diversional therapist Adrian Onofrio does the decorating. It signals the beginning of the Christmas festivities for residents.

“I make a number of cakes and I pick out the best ones to be decorated. I use my mum’s recipe that she got from a 1976 Women’s Weekly and everyone loves it,” Judy said.

Two decorating sessions are held at Liscombe House to try and include as many residents as possible. Judy then takes the decorated cakes home and her family enjoy them over Christmas. Last year Adrian decorated an extra one that was raffled to raise funds for Liscombe House.

It’s not just a festive activity for residents; it’s also a chance for them to talk about their own Christmas traditions and memories.

“Some of the people have decorated their own cakes in the past and they ask questions or talk about their own cake recipes. I think for some of the residents it fills a gap in their lives and helps them capture some of their Christmas memories,” Judy said. “The staff at Liscombe House are wonderful and they work hard to make Christmas special for the residents.”

Christmas cake decorating is just one of the many events and celebrations Judy helps run at Liscombe House.

Each year Judy runs the Liscombe House footy tipping competition, which last year involved 36 residents and 18 staff. This is no impersonal online tipping competition. Most days during the football season Judy goes into Liscombe House and visits the residents to get their tips and to have a chat. For some it may be the only volunteer they have that day, or for the week. She collects the tips, scrutinises the results and collates the ladder, all with help from her husband, David, who is also a volunteer with OCAV. David volunteers at Leith Park where he works in the garden each Tuesday. Judy also assists with running the footy tipping competition at Mercy Health in Keon Park.

Judy knows some residents aren’t interested in the football, but it becomes their connection with a child or grandchild who they ring for help with their tips.

Judy first began volunteering at Liscombe House, just weeks after retiring from a career in banking. She now divides her free time between Liscombe House, Mercy Health and country Victoria where her elderly mother is also in aged care.

“I love the interaction with the older people and I have become very close to a number of them over the years.  When one of the residents I am close to dies it is like I have lost a family member,” Judy said.

“When you take the time to sit and talk to residents you soon discover what interesting lives so many of them have lived and what stories they have to share.”

Apart from the Christmas cake decorating, footy tipping, running a Melbourne Cup sweep and organising Tuesday’s quiz, Judy also takes residents shopping and to doctor’s appointments when she can. Residents have plenty of time to share stories with their beloved volunteer.

Leith Park is a wonderful place for single older women because of the community and the age-friendly accommodation. I don’t think I have ever felt as safe as I have here.

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