News: Local Chaplain awarded for keeping seniors socially connected

The dedication of PresCare’s Chaplain to the Redlands, Graeme McKay was awarded last week as Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) recognised him in the 2015 ACSA Queensland Aged Care Employee Award category.

Graeme received a highly commended award based on his nomination for the outstanding contribution he makes to residents, their families and the staff of Lake Sherrin residential aged care facility, the independent living community and the wider Redlands community.

PresCare Director of Chaplaincy Rev John Gilmour says when Graeme commenced at PresCare his role was to reach out to individuals in residential and community care services to provide comfort and guidance in time of need, with weekend chapel services and one-on-one visits with clients.

“Over the years as PresCare has grown and as Graeme has embedded himself into the day to day activities of the organisation, Graeme’s role has grown exponentially,” John says.

After witnessing his own mother become socially isolated when his father passed away, Graeme says he made a pledge to help older Australians remain connected in their community.

“My goal is simple, to enable and build friendships and connections in the lives of PresCare’s residents and community clients,” Graeme says. “I see real value in regular social activities, such as the ‘Men’s Breakfast’ which gathers the men in the facility who are separated by the wings, together over breakfast”.

“Having someone who is willing to sit there for half an hour to talk, about spirituality or about gardening or football, goes a huge way toward helping a socially isolated person feel cared about.”

This, along with Graeme’s caring temperament is something Rev Gilmour said was the reason behind his nomination.

“Graeme is more than just a Chaplain, he is family for those who have none, a friend when needed and a voice of guidance and support for those experiencing hardship,” Rev Gilmour said.

“PresCare is extremely proud of what Graeme has achieved, and this award helps recognise these achievements.”

Graeme has been Chaplain to the Redlands since 2013 and his role sees him providing friendship, strength and support to more than 150 residents and dozens of clients in the community, as well as counseling and guidance to 100 employees.

The ACSA Employee Award recognises the dedication and contribution of an individual aged care professional in the delivery of services to older people and people with a disability.

Aged and Community Services Australia is the peak body for mission-based aged care providers of residential and community care, housing and support for people with a disability and their carers. These awards celebrate excellence across the not-for-profit aged and community care sector.