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Mental Health

A time to acknowledge the work our Pastoral Care Practitioners

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25 – 31 October is Spiritual Care Week, a time to acknowledge the work our Pastoral Care Practitioners do to support the residents and clients of VMCH’s aged care residences, affordable homes, and disability services.

We have a dedicated team of Pastoral Care Practitioners who are committed to the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of residents and continue to provide extra time and support, especially in difficult circumstances due to COVID-19.

VMCH General Manager for Mission, Bridget O’Shannassy says that the Pastoral Care team is incredible, and all members have been going above and beyond during this time.

“We’re so grateful for the incredible and important work of our Pastoral Care Practitioners. They do so much to keep our residents, clients and families feeling supported and connected to their faith, spirituality and emotional wellbeing in what is a time of uncertainty a

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nd worry for many.”

Sr. Kate Mannes, Pastoral Care Practitioner at VMCH Bundoora Aged Care Residence says residents’ feelings are swinging in multiple directions at the moment.

“All those feelings that we all have at the moment; they are feeling them too. With so many uncertainties and the added stress on staff members, they are picking up on the emotions around them. But there is the added struggle to understand the enormity of what we are trying to protect them from – even when their family tells them, they don’t understand what they cannot see.”

Kate says that while the frustration is normal, there are times where it can all get too much for residents, and they express their anger or they withdraw from the community. When this happens, she encourages them to just allow themselves to experience what they feel, and remind them that they are supported.

“We are all here for the residents. Here, they are not alone. They have other residents looking out for them, to chat to but they also have space to themselves if they want.”

This Spiritual Care Week, Bridget has suggested some tips which may help you to nurture and embrace your spirituality.

1.         Feed your spirit – listen to your inner world and acknowledge your needs

2.         Be still – pray, mediate and connect with what brings you meaning

3.         Nurture – listen to music, read scripture or poems, reflect, light a candle

4.         Community – give to others, connect (remotely) with your faith community

5.         Spend time in the wonder of God – enjoy nature, the ocean, country, sunrises, sunsets, gardens.

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