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Siblings Volunteer Together at Moonya Residential Aged Care

Brother and sister volunteers bring joy to residents at Moonya Residential Aged Care in Manjimup.

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Brother and sister volunteers bring joy to residents at Moonya Residential Aged Care

17 June 2022

News | Aged Care Homes

Brother and sister volunteers bring joy to residents at Moonya Residential Care in Manjimup.

Visits from son Mike Fletcher and daughter Gemma Rice always bring a smile to 88-year-old Isobel Fletcher who has called Baptistcare Moonya Residential Care in Manjimup home for the past eight years.

However, she is not the only resident who looks forward to seeing the siblings walk through the doors of the Ipsen Street facility.
The pair have become much-loved companions to many Moonya seniors through Baptistcare’s volunteering program.

In addition to regularly visiting their mum in the Memory Support Unit, Mike and Gemma spend time with other residents, chatting, playing games, reading and helping out with various activities.

For retired school principal Mike, the look of joy on the faces of residents when he visits is worth the 80-kilometre round trip from his home in Bridgetown.

“I’m truly moved by the value that you can add to the lives of seniors by getting to know them through conversation,” he said.

“It is such a gratifying and enjoyable way to give back to our older generation.”

Mike’s visits to Moonya aren’t his only community service contribution. The busy retiree is Captain of Bridgetown’s Kangaroo Gully Bush Fire Brigade, Chair of the Blackwood Cycle Tour for Mental Health, and a committee member for his local Rotary and the Blackwood Marathon and Venue Manager for the Blues at Bridgetown Festival.

Equally busy but with her focus on working the family farm in Manjimup and volunteering as treasurer for the Manjimup Historical Society, Mike’s sister Gemma is a night volunteer at Moonya.

“Although it makes for long days, it’s all worth it when I see the difference it makes to the residents,” she said.

“Some residents can be a little unsettled in the evenings, so the extra support is always welcomed by the Baptistcare Moonya team.”

Mike and Gemma said their mum’s journey with memory loss means she no longer recognises them as family.

“But I am sure she loves to see us volunteering as her face always light up when we are there,’ said Gemma.

Mike agrees. “As I once heard someone say on a radio show about dementia, she doesn’t know who I am now, but I know who she is,” said Mike.

Baptistcare Moonya Residential Care Manager, Nicolle Warren, said that it is lovely for the residents to have volunteers who have been South West locals for such a long time.

“We are so grateful to have volunteers who spend quality time with the residents on a regular basis and can relate to them as long-time members of the same community,” said Nicolle.

If you would like to discover the benefits of volunteering and make a difference in the lives of Manjimup seniors, Baptistcare would love to hear from you.