The Cairns Aged Care Centre Acknowledges R U OK? Day

September 8, 2022
The Cairns Aged Care Centre Acknowledges R U OK? Day

‘R U OK?’ Day is a national day of action to reminds us that every day presents an opportunity to ask those around us, ‘are you OK?’ and to start life-changing conversations. The Cairns Aged Care Centre recently acknowledged ‘R U OK Day’ with their dedicated Lifestyle Coordinator, Michael Flick, arranging activities and a semi-formal session for the day. Michael’s role, “provides social, emotional, creative and cultural needs to the residents.”

Michael believes that whilst asking someone if they are ok may appear to be a simple gesture, it is in fact a, “really deep and meaningful” occasion to spark a powerful conversation. Each year, The Cairns Aged Care Centre recognises ‘R U OK?’ Day and its employees dress in yellow, delicious banana cupcakes are served and the Centre is decorated with balloons.  ‘R U OK?’ Day itself has a largely free-flowing structure to allow for conversations, but there is a semi-formal presentation by the Director of Mission, Terri Goodwin, which intends to get the residents thinking if they need support from staff.

Michael notes that residents can often be apprehensive about moving into an aged care centre and the unknowns of this new chapter, and hence does his utmost to ensure the transition is smooth.  He also takes a ‘hands-on’ personal approach to promoting positive mental health, getting to know the person as an individual with a life and story. “The very first thing is to find out who they are, what their interests are…” noting the importance of “first “seeing the person and ultimately making them feel valued and important.” 

The Cairns Aged Care Centre  has many initiatives in place to promote and uphold positive mental health, including the, “spiritual and emotional support team; the Chaplains and the Lifestyle team… and even some residents,” who step up as figures of support for other residents.

Centre Chaplains Jeff and Terri Goodwin also provide ongoing initiatives which promote positive mental health, with Terri mentioning Chapel, the Ladies Group and the Men’s Group where residents can, “just sit down and [be supported in] how they’re feeling” and connect with themselves and other residents.

Terri notes  that the role of a Chaplain is to also reaffirm that the Centre is a positive place to be. Director of Mission, Terri Goodwin and Jeff Goodwin who is the Chaplain, promote this idea through their many activities which support friendship, connection and fun. Such activities include Jeff’s watercolour classes where he  will demonstrate a watercolour painting right for the residents and also the Men’s Club ‘Hot Wheels’ races and the Ladies’ Papier Mache activities - just to name a few!

In a spiritual sense, Jeff and Terri walk alongside their residents when they feel weary or sad, be it through music and worship, often singing with them. Terri says that residents are encouraged by the popular worship song, “In His Hands” which reminds residents that, “Jesus is in control, no matter what is happening around you.”