News

Have you seen Benetas in the news lately? Heard your favourite Benetas home was a media star? You can find copies of our appearances in the press here, plus breaking news stories, the latest happenings at Benetas and interesting stories about aged care in general.

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18 September 2012

Our research department has been very busy over the past six months, with a number of project findings being released.

Our research department has been very busy over the past six months, with a number of project findings being released.

In partnership with Deakin University and Uniting Aged Care, Benetas was involved with the evaluation of a training program for professional residential and community carers in recognising late-life depression in older people. This research showed there are benefits of providing depression training to direct carers and personal care workers, particularly in recognising depression in older people. One of the main recommendations from this research was to open lines of communication between residents, families, carers and GPs to ensure that depression is not just seen as a natural part of ageing. The report will be released in the coming months.

Another major research project has been looking at older women’s perceptions of younger women, particularly in the workforce. Predictions of older women being envious of the opportunities in both education and work for young women today were not supported. The women in our sample recognised that younger women did have tremendous opportunities but they also brought responsibilities, and the older women admired younger women for taking on these challenges. It was also found that many women initially considered their work lives short, but greater questioning elicited long forgotten memories of paid employment, albeit infrequent or short term. Despite the cultural norm that married women did not work unless they were disadvantaged, most of the women in fact worked all of their adult lives.

A trial was completed by Benetas and The University of Melbourne earlier in 2012, using technology to reduce social isolation in older people. The trial included a group of Benetas community care clients, who were identified as being socially isolated, being given an iPad. They used the iPad to take photos, and then shared these photos and comments with the group. The trial was very successful, showing that many members of the group felt less isolated, with some even making good friends! The full study is due to commence later this year.

And finally, Benetas has just concluded a project on war veterans, post traumatic stress and dementia. The study found evidence to support a link between post traumatic stress and dementia. We will share more of the findings with you in the next edition of ‘In Good Company’.

You can view the full Benetas research and advocacy plan here

18 September 2012

Community Care Western client Brigid Cosgrave has always loved gardening; it has been something she has done to ease her stress and troubles, ever...

Community Care Western client Brigid Cosgrave has always loved gardening; it has been something she has done to ease her stress and troubles, ever since she can remember.

She recalls one of the first gardens she created over 60 years ago back on a farm in Wiltshire, England. Her beautiful garden filled her with pride but it didn’t last long when three pesky pigs decided to rip up the garden and eat it! “It didn’t matter though,” recalls, Brigid, “One of those sows quickly became my pet, and friend, and would follow me wherever I went!”

When Brigid moved into her current house 15 years ago, she knew that the dirt mound in the front yard would soon be blooming with fantastic coloured flowers. Sadly as time went on the upkeep of the garden became too hard for Brigid and she slowly Benetas Community Care client Brigid Cosgrave, relaxing in her new outdoor oasis.started giving her plants away to her neighbours. In the end all that was left was a patch of dirt.

Brigid’s Care Manager, Rachel Spiteri, saw how much not having a garden affected Brigid. Rachel applied to the Benetas One Wish Program to help build an easily accessible garden and fulfil Brigid’s wish of having a garden again. Brigid’s new garden is now complete and she is so grateful for this wonderful place that she can go and relax.

“It’s absolutely lovely; it is so nice to sit out here! I want to thank everyone who was involved in making this possible. Everyone is welcome to come around anytime for cuppa — it is the least I can do!”

The Benetas One Wish Program is available to all Benetas clients to provide a special ‘one off’ opportunity to have a wish come true. You can donate to the One Wish fund here or calling 03 8823 7900.

18 September 2012

Recent changes to the way aged care providers are funded are causing some serious concerns among the aged care industry.

These concerns...

Recent changes to the way aged care providers are funded are causing some serious concerns among the aged care industry.

These concerns have been magnified following the release of a new report which has identified a potential industry-wide funding shortfall of $750 million over the next two-and-ahalf years. This translates to an average revenue loss of more than $125,000 per annum per aged care facility.

As an industry, we believe this new funding model, introduced by the Federal Government, needs to urgently be reviewed. Otherwise, there could be an impact on staffing levels and on the important services which are the very foundation of the quality care we provide.

Benetas is working with our national industry body, Leading Age Services Australia and other stakeholders to inform the Federal Government about the impacts of this new model and to urge them to find a long-term solution.

We are strongly advocating a move away from a funding model which is artificially tied to Federal Government budgetary constraints to one which genuinely matches care funds to people’s needs. We strongly support the call from the National Aged Care Alliance for an independent and comprehensive cost of care study into aged care funding.

While the industry is pursuing this longterm goal, we’re also committed to working with the Federal Government to address the immediate impacts of its changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), the assessment tool that determines how much funding is allocated to each resident.

We are urging the Federal Government to commit an additional $1.1 billion over the next four years to help cover the potential revenue shortfall faced by providers. Further, ACFI funding levels, which were frozen on 1 July, 2012, need to be re-instated and increased by 1.6 per cent to assist providers to meet ever-increasing costs. Aged care funding is an important issue and one which the wider community needs to be aware of and involved in.

We urge you to ask your local Member of Parliament: “What are you going to do to help ensure a viable aged care industry for all Australians?”

18 September 2012

We have given our Family News newsletter a face lift!

We have done this for a number of reasons. Back in late 2011, Benetas did some...

We have given our Family News newsletter a face lift!

We have done this for a number of reasons. Back in late 2011, Benetas did some research around what ‘The Caring Spirit’ (our old ‘strap line’) meant to our clients and their families.

We found overwhelmingly that ‘The Caring Spirit’ didn’t resonate with our audience, particularly older people. Although interested in the specific care they received from an aged care provider, they felt more strongly that they didn’t want to be alone as they aged. Families of older people also didn’t want their loved one to be alone.

From this, we changed our strap line to ‘Living in good company’ to embody the reality that when you receive services from Benetas, you are more than just being cared for — you are engaging, communicating and participating in a wider community. In line with this change, we have now changed the name of our newsletter to ‘In Good Company’, to showcase the amazing stories of our clients and inform you about all Benetas services.

The newsletter will still come out every quarter, but in a new updated format! For more information or to subscribe to our enewsletter please email marketing@benetas.com.au or by calling 03 8823 7900.

18 September 2012

“THE EMPTY CHAIR”
by Alan Hopgood in collaboration with Molly Carlile

Thanks to a philanthropic grant, Palliative Care Victoria,...

“THE EMPTY CHAIR”
by Alan Hopgood in collaboration with Molly Carlile

Thanks to a philanthropic grant, Palliative Care Victoria, Carers Victoria and Benetas are presenting a FREE performance of ‘The Empty Chair’.

Written by Alan Hopgood in collaboration with Molly Carlile, the play is a heart-warming comedy about loss, love, and dementia. The family meets for the first Christmas lunch without the mother, Rose, whose absence is marked by an empty chair. But how ‘absent’ is she? And as the father begins to display some eccentricities, it is realised they may soon be losing him to dementia.

Originally presented as a one act play under the banner of HealthPlay, “The Empty Chair” proved so popular that a second act was added displaying Hopgood’s talent for using comedy to present otherwise confronting issues.

The well-known cast includes Margot Knight, Lee Mason, Jessica Clarke and Alan Hopgood.

Date: Friday 2nd November 2012

Time: Play commences at 2:00pm

Panel discussion: 3:05 to 3:30pm

Venue: Beckett Theatre, The Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank

Cost: free!

Click here to register for your tickets today.

HealthPlay, producer of The Empty Chair, create plays that deal with prostate cancer, diabetes, geriatric sex, palliative care, widowhood and depression. With over 500 performances, across eight plays, presented since 1997, HealthPlay has proved to be a unique and highly effective way of imparting the health message.

HealthPlay is a highly successful, innovative, live performance experience which assists with the raising of awareness to aid in the prevention of health and relationship issues.

HealthPlay assists the community to:

  • Openly talk about depression thus counteracting the stigma too often associated with mental health problems
  • Face dementia with understanding and good humour rather than fear
  • Inform men (and their partners) about prostate cancer
  • Inform men and women of the importance of changing their life styles to avoid diabetes
  • Suggest ways widows can avoid being marginalised and lose social contacts and still feel they are valued members of the community

In partnership with Pallative Care Victoria, Carers Vic and HealthPlay

17 September 2012

September 17th - 23rd is Include a Charity (IaC) Week in Australia!

Almost 70% of Australians support charities in their lifetime, but only...

September 17th - 23rd is Include a Charity (IaC) Week in Australia!

Almost 70% of Australians support charities in their lifetime, but only 7.5% of those over 60 include a charitable gift in their will. If we could increase that figure to 14% over time, we could generate an additional $440 million every year for good causes.

Just imagine what could be made possible by that additional income that the sector would receive as a result IaC Week also creates a perfect opportunity for member charities to talk about the impact of gifts in wills, both internally among colleagues and decision makers, externally with supporters and through conversations with your media contacts and influential stakeholders.

We are aiming to get over 75% of our membership involved in IaC Week. In subsequent years, we want to increase that number and make future IaC weeks even better.

Benetas is a member of IaC. All Australians are being urged to help the good work of charities live on & on & on by leaving a gift in their will. Please share this, and help spread the word go to http://www.includeacharity.com.au/ 

 

07 June 2012

Benetas Colton Close in Glenroy is having all its...

Benetas Colton Close in Glenroy is having all its courtyards redesigned, thanks to a generous bequest left in a resident’s will. We have almost finished four of the five stages, with the fifth stage due for competition in mid June.

The gardens that have been completed look wonderful! Robert Boyle Landscape and Design have created serene and individual courtyards throughout the whole facility – allowing residents and their families a peaceful space for reflection.

The sensory gardens are also designed to help with memory loss and dementia.

Populating the gardens are specially chosen plants and materials that are designed to stimulate resident’s memories – different smells, sounds and textures that connect the past to the present.

These gardens were featured at the Better Homes and Gardens Expo earlier in the year, where they were a big hit!

Without a generous bequest our garden renovations at Benetas Colton Close would not have been possible. We rely on these gifts to ensure significant projects can proceed. A gift in your Will to Benetas could touch the lives of future generations of Victorians as they grow older and need support. You can choose to leave a gift to Benetas as an entire organisation, or to a specific Benetas site or service.

Please let us know if you have added us to your Will already. We’d like to have the opportunity to thank you now and show our appreciation. To discuss bequests please contact us today!

07 June 2012

Benetas recently launched a new and innovative Memory Loss and Dementia Service...

Benetas recently launched a new and innovative Memory Loss and Dementia Service to improve the lives of people living with dementia at home with their families.

Sandra Hills, Benetas CEO, said the new service, which took two years to develop is improving the quality of life for people living with dementia, their carers and families.

“We created this new service because as people come to need our support, whether in residential care or in-home care, they consistently tell us that they struggle to cope with caring for someone with dementia in the family home,” Ms Hills said.

“With this insight from our clients and families, combined with our experience as an aged care provider and knowledge that people want to live at home for as long as possible, we knew we had to come up with a solution.”

The unique service offers highly qualified advisors who meet with families and carers to develop a tailored plan to support the individual with dementia and the family. The tailored plan provides referrals and connections to the right services, advice on home safety and behaviour management and advice on what future medical, legal and financial arrangements can be made.

“Our service helps families make sense of the maze of doctors, departments and services that so often leave people feeling anxious, frustrated and alone,” Ms Hills said.

“Most importantly, it delivers an individualised, tailored plan that addresses the specific challenges facing families caring for someone with dementia.”

For those caring for someone with memory loss or dementia, it can be a battle to keep their loved one at home.

Carolie Kerry’s mother, Florence, 94, began showing symptoms of memory loss six years ago and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease sometime later.

“We didn’t really know how bad it had got until my father became unwell,” said Carolie. “Dad had put in place all these strategies to make sure mum didn’t hurt herself. He was focussed on keeping them both safe and living together at home.

“He’d make sure his chair in the lounge room was positioned perfectly so that he could see when mum had turned on the stove,” said Carolie.

“He had to watch her all the time, which became really difficult as Dad got sick.

“It’s a big responsibility keeping someone with memory loss at home, but we knew that while mum still had a quality of life and we could manage it, that we would do it for as long as possible.

“It would have been good to have specialist advice about where to go and what to do once we knew mum had memory problems,” said Carolie. “We had to work through it ourselves."

Click here for more information on the memory loss and dementia service.

07 June 2012

Benetas recently undertook research carried out by a university student into the benefits of implementing an animal interactive program or ‘Pet...

Benetas recently undertook research carried out by a university student into the benefits of implementing an animal interactive program or ‘Pet Therapy’ to promote wellbeing in older people living in residential care.

Alan Gruner, Benetas Research and Development Manager, said that a major recommendation of the research was to engage both staff and residents to create a successful pet therapy program.

“There was a large amount of interest, both from staff and residents around the idea of pet therapy. Residents demonstrated a real interest in having pets visit at the facility – with the vast majority of participants having pets in the past. Then when a dog was bought to visit, residents reacted really positively to having physical contact with the dog,” Alan said.

Alan said that an interesting outcome of the research was the response from both residents and staff when they spoke about their pets, either current or past.

“We found that even just having discussions about pets involving staff and residents was important. Many residents become very animated and lively when recalling telling of pets from their past. The study also showed a large number of staff had a strong pet attachment, but not many residents were aware of this. Starting discussions about pets between staff and residents may promote interest and social interaction among residents,” Alan said.

07 June 2012

A big thank you to our current donors who recently completed our annual supporter survey. Your responses have helped us gain more insight into why...

A big thank you to our current donors who recently completed our annual supporter survey. Your responses have helped us gain more insight into why you donate and how you like to see your donations in action.

A quick snapshot into the results:

Overall, you were happy with the content of the Family News with 92% agreeing it was ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.

The majority of people (32%) donate to Benetas because they have a personal affiliation with our organisation.

Other major reasons include caring about the welfare of older Victorians (27%), an interest in supporting Anglican organisations (20%) and an interest in our work (17%).

We were extremely pleased to note that all our donors are happy with where we choose to use their donations.

We also asked for suggestions and the most popular choice was to spend donations on building works for new facilities (18.5%) and helping people who live at home (18.75%).

We had an equal split on people who would like to donate to the One Wish program and careers and training for our staff (13.75% each).

We also received a slightly smaller level of interest in renovations and landscaping projects, and purchasing new equipment.

Thank you again to all who were able to spare a little time to help with the survey.

10 May 2012

Disadvantaged need most support

Leading Victorian aged care provider, Benetas, welcomes the announcement of the Federal...

Disadvantaged need most support

Leading Victorian aged care provider, Benetas, welcomes the announcement of the Federal Budget released last night saying that the budget paid respect to older Australians, especially those on low incomes and those who are disadvantaged.

Benetas CEO, Sandra Hills, said that it was gratifying to see that the government was doing more to tackle the cost of living, dental health, assisting people with disabilities and our ageing population.

“Our ageing population will also benefit directly from the significant investment of $3.7billion towards aged care reform,” Ms Hills said. “The focus on improving aged care in Australia demonstrates respect for older people and their carers, but there are still many unanswered questions about the proposed changes to the aged care funding structures around adequate investment in the sector. For example, how will increasing resident and community care client co-payments or being able to charge bond or periodic payment for each residential care bed work under the new plan.

“We knew that the payment system needed to change for Australians. It simply wasn’t viable, so we are fully supportive of allowing those who are able to afford to pay. The Government has acknowledged the very real need to provide safeguards for people who are disadvantaged, so anyone requiring care and support receives it, regardless of their circumstances. This will be hard work, but it is vital to support our most vulnerable community members,” Ms Hills said.

The budget has recognised that the Government needs a response to the negative perceptions of ageing and aged care. Ms Hills welcomes the funding for countering negative stereotypes and promoting positive media portrayal of older Australians, plus promoting older people’s value in the workforce.

“Currently the perception of ageing and aged care in the community is very negative, with our ageing population seen as a liability. We congratulate the Government on the ‘Economic Potential of Senior Australians’ initiative around needing to embrace our ageing community and place more value on what they can offer our society. We have a lot of work to do to change this negative perception and we need to ensure we put words into action,” Ms Hills said.

“The $1.2 billion investment in the aged care workforce is also long overdue and highlights the respect our Government holds for the thousands of committed, dedicated and caring staff who work in the aged care sector with passion and pride every day. Yet we need to ensure that this investment occurs sooner rather than later as we also need to implement measures to address the aged care workforce shortage, which is already a real issue in the sector.”

Ms Hills also called for more emphasis to be put on new and innovative services within the aged care sector.

“The move towards a more financially viable system is fantastic; however as providers we need the Government’s support so we can explore how to meet the changing needs of our clients in the future. To do this well, it is essential to look at researching and piloting new and innovative models of service delivery, and we need funds to be able to do that,” Ms Hills said.

“The budget announcements are a good start towards supporting our most vulnerable and disadvantaged community members, but what we need is the aged care investment and reforms to occur quickly, and in the next five years. To make this happen, we need the political will and commitment of our leaders to continue down this path of true reform to ensure Australia can provide world class aged care services for our ageing community now and into the future,” Ms Hills said.

04 May 2012

The Happy Eating Project was specifically created to improve the lives of older people from Italian, Greek and Macedonian speaking backgrounds who...

The Happy Eating Project was specifically created to improve the lives of older people from Italian, Greek and Macedonian speaking backgrounds who receive care services from Benetas. These clients have moderate dementia and live at home with their families.

“A major aim of this project was to reduce any stigma associated with dementia by demonstrating respect for the person while also providing helpful information for carers,” explains Ms Sandra Hills, CEO Benetas.

“By using a familiar activity such as meal preparation and eating together as a starting point, we can share useful strategies for families living with dementia to make the overall caring experience less stressful. This ultimately improves the overall quality of life of everyone involved – the person with dementia and their loved ones,” Ms Hill says.

Benetas trialed the program in north-west metropolitan Melbourne with 11 families and their Benetas Care Managers who volunteered to participate.

Ms Hills continues, “The Happy Eating Project has addressed a clearly identified need for relevant and culturally-appropriate information about dementia in Victorian communities. Its implications are far reaching beyond the scope of “mealtimes” and the families and individuals that piloted the program. The startegies were developed for Italian, Macedonian and Greek families, with translated versions available soon. ”

This program has the capacity to positively impact the lives of families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds across Australia who have a family member living with dementia. Benetas is currently working to make the program available to other organisations.

The program was funded by Department of Health and Ageing through a Dementia Support Grant.

View the English Happy Eating strategies here.

Italian, Macedonian and Greek translations will be available online soon.

20 April 2012

April 20th saw the Federal Government announce aged care reform for the sector. Here is a break-down of the key measures and funding behind...

April 20th saw the Federal Government announce aged care reform for the sector. Here is a break-down of the key measures and funding behind the aged care reforms.

$3.7 billion package of measures over five years:

 
> $1.9 billion for better access to aged-care services. 

> $1.2 billion to strengthen the aged-care workforce. 

> $268.4 million for dementia.

> $54.8 million to support carers.

 

Home care:

• Home Care subsidy package to be means tested from July 1, 2014; 'care fee' to be introduced.

• Family home will be exempt from means testing.

• Means testing to reduce government funding of package from 84 per cent to 76 per cent.

• Recipients to pay basic fee of up to 17.5 per cent of the single basic pension.

• Full pensioners won't pay care fee.

• Indexed caps of $5000 and $10,000 will apply to care fees of part pensioners and self-funded retires respectively, together with lifetime indexed cap of $60,000.

• Care fee cannot be greater than cost of care.

• 80,000 new home-care packages by 2021/22.

• Annual government subsidy will range from $7500 to $45,000.

• $880.1 million over next five years to expand home care.

• On July 1, 2015, HACC Program, the National Respite for Carers Program, Day Therapy Centres and the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged Program will be consolidated under a new Home Support Program.

• Home Care Support Program to focus on prevention and re-enablement.

• $6.7 billion over five years for HACC Program for older people.

• $3 billion over five years for joint state-commonwealth Home and Community Care Program in Victoria and Western Australia.

• More than $5.8 billion over five years for home care packages supporting 58,000 packages a year.

• More than $1 billion over five years for the National Respite for Carers Program.

• Hardship Supplement for residential care to be extended to Home Care packages.

• $73.5 million to integrate Home and Community Care (HACC) program with other commonwealth programs to create and grow a new Home Support program.

• About 4900 new Home Care packages offered through 2012-13 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR).

 

Residential care:

• From July 1, 2014, residents can choose to pay accommodation costs through fully refundable lump sum or a rental style periodic payment, or a combination of the two.

• From July 1, 2014 means testing arrangements will be tightened by combining current income and asset tests. • New means-testing measures will mean people with same level of income and assets as other residents will pay the same fee.

• $486.9 million to increase the accommodation supplement government pays on behalf of residents who can't meet all or some of their accommodation costs.

• Government will remove distinction between low and high care.

• Providers won't be able to choose people based on how person intends to pay for accommodation.

• Residents will be able to decide how they will pay once in care.

• $65.4 million to enable residents to access additional services in aged-care homes.

• Consumer Direct Care to be trialled in aged-care centres in 2013/14, to give people greater say over delivery of care.

• Aged Care Funding Instrument to be refined, to ensure funding claimed by providers better matches level of care being offered.

 

Other measures:

• $192 million over five years to support people from diverse background accessing age care.

• $39.8 million for consumer support and research.

• $256.4 million through Aged Care Reform package.

• $26.4 million to establish new Aged Care Financing Authority.

• $16.6 million for greater transparency, including establishment of My Aged Care website.

Read the Benetas response to the Aged Care Reforms here

27 March 2012

Benetas is holding its second Sale Dementia Carer Support Group. 

When: 2nd Wednesday of each month

Next Meeting: April 11th, 1...

Benetas is holding its second Sale Dementia Carer Support Group. 

When: 2nd Wednesday of each month

Next Meeting: April 11th, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Where: Activity room, LaTrobe Community Health Services, Sale

Phone: Enquiries to Benetas on 5155 6000

No registration necessary

14 March 2012

Benetas recently became one of the newest providers of Veterans Home Care in Victoria....

Benetas recently became one of the newest providers of Veterans Home Care in Victoria.

Three months on, and we now have 250 veterans, war widows and widowers accessing our services through the program across Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Much of the assistance provided is related to domestic help and respite at home. For more information, go to the Benetas Veterans Home Care page or contact the Benetas Customer Centre on 1300 236 382.

14 March 2012

After the success of Benetas’ Dementia Carer Support Groups in Lakes Entrance and Orbost, we’re pleased to announce the expansion of the program...

After the success of Benetas’ Dementia Carer Support Groups in Lakes Entrance and Orbost, we’re pleased to announce the expansion of the program into Sale.

Benetas and Alzheimer’s Australia Vic first established the free support groups for people who are caring for someone with a dementia, following significant interest and enquiries from the local community.

A support group for the carers can provide a supportive forum enabling those attending to share their experiences, learn new strategies and enjoy socialising with others who share common problems.

Carers in Sale are now set to benefit, with the group holding its first meeting on 14 March. For more information about the groups, please contact (03) 5155 6000.

Find out more about living with dementia.

14 March 2012

Tom Baldwin has always been intrigued by technology. Eight years ago Tom taught himself how to use a computer, on a computer made of rescued parts...

Tom Baldwin has always been intrigued by technology. Eight years ago Tom taught himself how to use a computer, on a computer made of rescued parts, given to him by his son.

Unfortunately for the Benetas Community Care client, who lives in regional Victoria in Sale, the computer became slow and damaged by internet ‘hackers’. Tom’s mobility has also decreased over the years, and he now experiences hearing problems. His mind is his most active asset, and his sorely missed being able to use his computer.

When Tom’s Care Manager, Jo Inglis learnt of the problem, she thought of the Benetas One Wish Program immediately. “We completed an application together,” she says. The good news soon came that the wish for a new desktop computer had been granted.

“The quality of my life has been changed so much since I received my new computer; I am now able to contact my friends and relatives abroad at any time. I write to them, and I can also call them up and see them over the internet. It’s just plain magic,” explains Tom.

Tom, who is also an avid artist and photographer, is using his computer to scan his artwork in to keep them on file and for editing his photos.

He says, “I am so happy I was lucky enough to receive this computer. I hope that the Benetas One Wish program goes on granting people like me their one wish. It is absolutely wonderful.”

Find out more or donate to the Benetas One Wish program.

14 March 2012

Ben Holt is one dedicated Benetas volunteer - so dedicated, he refuses to let even university exams...

Ben Holt is one dedicated Benetas volunteer - so dedicated, he refuses to let even university exams get in the way of his weekly visits to Benetas client, Rod and his wife Judy.

Currently studying at Melbourne University, 20-year-old Ben began volunteering with Benetas in 2011. He explains, “The main reason I decided to start was the opportunity to give back. What I didn’t realise is that I would meet two wonderful people who would soon become my friends.”

Ben now visits Rod and Judy every Thursday and the couple looks forward to the afternoons filled with card games, quizzes, long chats and walks around the neighborhood.

Rod and Judy sometimes worry they take up too much of Ben’s time, particularly when he’s in the middle of exams. Every time they see Ben, they tell him not to worry if he’s too busy to come. Ben simply laughs and says, ‘I’ll see you next Thursday!”

There are many ways that you can get involved in volunteering at Benetas. We currently are seeking two volunteers to help with ‘Happy Hour’ at two of our residential aged care homes, Benetas Broughton Hall in Camberwell and Benetas Gladswood Lodge in West Brunswick. Please contact (03) 8823 7900 for more information.

Find out more about volunteering at Benetas.

14 March 2012

Kilby House, our respite centre in Glenroy, was a hive of activity on Monday 6th February,...

Kilby House, our respite centre in Glenroy, was a hive of activity on Monday 6th February, when clients, staff and friends gathered to witness the official opening of their new sunroom extension.

Respite services are vital for supporting informal carers such as relatives or friends by giving them a break from their caring duties, but also providing older people with the opportunity to socialise and enjoy time with their friends and peers.

Our Kilby House Respite Centre provides day, overnight and weekend respite seven days a week. Before work began to build an extension, Kilby House consisted of only one communal lounge, which doubled as a dining area, which restricted the types of activities and leisure pursuits that could take place at the centre.

After successfully applying for grants from several trusts and foundations, Benetas was able to construct a sunroom to extend the living area into a larger space and to provide a new deck with gorgeous garden views.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Collier Charitable Fund, the Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation, the Pierce Armstrong Foundation and the E.H. & Marian Flack Trust, plus contributions from Benetas, the sunroom dream has been realised, “says Sandra Hills, Benetas CEO.

“We were also lucky enough to have Mr Marino Mitton, who has been a client at Kilby House for 12 years, on hand to cut the ribbon.

“An even more positive outcome was the announcement from the Department of Health and Ageing after seeing the extension and improvements, that extra funding would be granted for Benetas to provide additional respite services at Kilby House, for approximately 12 more people each week.”

Find out more about Benetas' respite services.

14 March 2012

The chime of an old grandfather clock is Benetas Eaglehawk resident John...

The chime of an old grandfather clock is Benetas Eaglehawk resident John Taylor’s favourite sound.

John has always had a fascination with clocks, but his passion increased dramatically 30 years ago when he retired and was able to devote more time to the devices that intrigued him.

“Before I moved into Benetas Eaglehawk two years ago I had over 300 clocks in my collection,” explains John John’s collection was purchased through auctions or on the internet with the help of his granddaughter – they an impressive sight.

He recalls, “I owned a lot of American clocks - their mechanisms interested me and I loved mending and restoring them. I had 25 clocks that were over 100 years old.

“My favourite is a grandfather clock that I made myself which is now at my son’s house. I hope it gets passed down through the generations of my family.”

Six clocks from his collection now hang in his room at Benetas Eaglehawk and he loves nothing more than hearing them chime every hour.

Find out more about living with Benetas.