‘My name is Wayne Collins and I have been married to my wife Patricia (Pat) for 46 years with out a break.
Pat came down with something of a problem a few years ago and it has been eating away at her ever since, and while she didn’t know what it was , Dr Vawser who has been our Doctor for many years knew what it was , It was an insidious disease called Waynitts !
So Pat decided to do something about her disease, she asked all her lady friends if they knew of a place she could “shed” Wayne she could get some much needed rest.
Pauline who volunteers at Bene Aged Care Italian Village, suggested Bene and while most of the residents spoke Italian, there were some who spoke Australian. Pauline told Pat that she could “shed” Wayne for a couple weeks, or ‘better still four weeks would be better for your peace of mind Pat’, there were some hurdles to jump over first, like paying 2/3 of the cost up front plus $60.00 for the name tagging of Wayne’s clothing plus getting a doctor to fill out some forms and putting their name and qualifications on them. Of course , I wasn’t too happy about going to an old folks home whose main language was Italian with a splattering of Australian thrown in for good measure.
What I didn’t know and therefore didn’t realize, was that someone who experiences a place first hand, is like looking at books with an insidious cover. It is only as you delve into actually reading the book that you realize your first impressions were unfounded.
There are two parts to Bene , one part is living in Bene’s facility, and the other part is living outside of Bene by living in your own home because Bene comes to you.
‘If you do not come to the mountain, the mountain comes to you ‘ (my proverb!)
Bene is most compassionate and accommodating wherever possible when interacting with their clients. If you thought the language barrier was a problem then don’t be, because Bene would send the same experienced staff weekly to your home or in theirs who could communicate in the clients language and therefore reducing anxiety. This would create a bonding experience and then in turn, a sense of security.
Bene has been able to make this a smooth transition.
If the client started living in Bene’s facility they could not fault the staff and the volunteers, their abilities and kindness needs to be experienced to fully appreciate their commitment and whose vision is to make sure that everyone under their care are looked after to the very best of care.
The food that is served at lunch and dinner needs to be experienced to understand that the Chef, the cooks, and the meal services are the absolute best in the business for supplying nutritional foods with great variety, to keep their clients well satisfied.
The Bene –Italian Village is an absolute gem, with its Divine Chapel and live in priest, Fr Felix DeCandida, who is exquisite to say the least! The long carpeted walkways are a joy to negotiate, and the bedrooms with their ensuite area, dream come true for me.
Bene puts out a booklet every two weeks for a client to do, like having a cuppa with a chat.
I was going to mass to receive Holy Communion on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, and we have Rosary in the Chapel. As a respite resident I was able to pray the Rosary in English on Fridays.
There are cooking clubs, knitting clubs, ball games, chair bound exercises with Bill, walking groups, a happy hour with Fay, leading the singing in Italian and Australian – wonderful enjoyment is had by all. The bingo gets a lot of clients in, and the list goes on and on.
I have found that the main ingredient in Bene’s Aged Care – Italian Style success, is YOU!!!!
Bene goes out of its way to make sure that you, the client is well looked after. And guess what? I have also found….that if you, (the client) learn and say the carers names and tell them that you appreciate what they do for you, on a regular basis, the carers will smile with you. You and they will become good company to you and good friendships’ will be formed. That’s what I did and I had a wonderful four weeks in respite.