Caring for the elderly

By Southern Riverina News

Local volunteers Elvie Hemphill and Julie O’Brien have clocked up 70 years of dedication to Finley Regional Care between them.

Serving 40 years and 30 years with the service respectively, both women were honoured at a special celebration last week.

Mrs Hemphill, 81, is known among residents for her singing and helps run the church services on Thursdays — and enjoys singing in them too.

She also goes to FRC once a month to perform with fellow musicians Keith Haidle and Anne Orro.

Mrs Hemphill said it all started in 1972 when she joined the local band with her family and performed in the carols.

She then decided to sing more with the residents.

‘‘We used to have carols every year and I joined the band because my family was all in the band,’’ she said.

‘‘The first home was built on the Deni Road and we had a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon each month, at which I would sing.

‘‘Even after they moved the old people’s home to Ulupna Lodge, I would still be part of the band and would always sing for the residents.

‘‘I enjoy coming along and singing. Keith plays the guitar and Anne plays the piano once a month.

‘‘Every Thursday there’s a church service and it’s my job to sing along with the residents.

‘‘This encourage them to sing along as well.

‘‘I just enjoy singing and talking to the people. I knew a few of the residents in the first home and you get to know the others after that.

‘‘It’s great for them to sit down, listen to the music and engage with us.’’

Mrs Hemphill is well known for her community work, and has previously received the Finley Rotary Encouragement Award in 1993 and Citizen of Distinction in 2011.

Mrs O’Brien, 66, is one of FRC’s hairdressers and said she’s been catering for older clients for 34 years.

‘‘It all started when my mother-in-law was working at Ulupna Lodge,’’ she said.

‘‘Back then I had to bring all of my equipment and there wasn’t a salon facility; I had to shampoo in the laundry.

‘‘So when they moved here it was wonderful because we now have two salons.

‘‘Ladies like to have their hair done and some are used to having it done once a week. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t look after yourself.

‘‘It’s very rewarding but I like to think they’ve come out of their room and done something, and it’s made them happy.

‘‘They love chatting about family, but at the moment the big topic is Christmas.

‘‘There was one resident who would joke with me every week, after doing her hair she would say ‘it’s pretty good I won’t make you do it again’.’’

Mrs O’Brien also does craft with the residents, including card making.

‘‘It takes a lot a preparation and the co-ordinator Wendy Sutton does a wonderful job.

‘‘I have grandchildren and every time they come to visit they always want to go to regional care.

‘‘Often they’ll help with the card making day. It’s absolutely beautiful to see my grandchildren and residents have so much joy from it.’’