Residents at our Banksia Dementia Respite Centre
Christine has been working for the Brotherhood as a community service worker for nearly ten years, and volunteering for the last three
years. An accomplished pianist and chorus singer, she juggles work, volunteering and four granddaughters.
Every second Tuesday, Christine runs a twohour session with the residents at our Banksia Dementia Respite Centre. The class starts with some Tai Chi to get everyone relaxed, then it’s on to singing, with a mix of choral, gospel and oldtime favourites. Elvis, Perry Como and Oklahoma are popular, but they always finish with “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. “It gets everyone going. We do it at least twice,” says Christine.
“We’re a choir, it’s not just a singalong. So if I think we need to do it again, then we will.” Every week, Christine notices sparks of memory triggered by singing. “One lady had advanced dementia and just out of the blue she said, ‘You know there are two versions of “Away in A Manger”? We could sing them together!’ And we sang them together.” Christine couldn’t imagine not doing something in the community. “I’ve always been a joiner. I was always on the committee of something.”
But it also offers her something. “It makes you forget yourself. You feel fulfilled and valued. Very much here and in the Brotherhood. That’s very important.” “Just the reactions I get, they’re really engaged with the music, and that’s very rewarding for me. And I get to use my musical knowledge.”
“You leave your troubles at the doorstep.”
Brotherhood volunteers play a vital role at the Banksia Frankston Respite Centre. The centre supports people living with dementia and our volunteers assist members in their lifestyle program. Whether it is art and music therapy, indoor bowls or gardening, community involvement is emphasised to promote wellbeing and social connection.