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Rosemary and time for hope

Rosemary and time for hope

From troubled youth in Sydney's Kings Cross to lonely residents in an aged care home, Envoy Rosemary Richardson says everyone is looking for the same thing at Christmas.

By Lauren Martin

Four years ago, Envoy Rosemary Richardson embarked on a “tree-change”. After several years working the streets of Sydney, offering hot drinks, blankets and a listening ear to homeless young people, she took on a chaplaincy role at The Salvation Army’s Rosedurnate Aged Care Plus Centre in the NSW country town of Parkes.

Christmas time at the aged care home, says Rosemary, is a mixture of joy and sadness. Many residents have lost someone close to them, some don’t have family members to visit, and others don't have anyone to visit them. “Christmas is a time when we really ramp up our love and support of our residents,” says Rosemary. “We make sure that everyone receives a gift and our staff go out of their way to prepare a beautiful feast, with table decorations, carol singing and other festive activities. It doesn’t matter who you are – homeless on the streets of Kings Cross, or an elderly resident of Parkes – everyone is looking for the same thing at Christmas time: Hope.”

Rosemary says there are many similarities between her old job in Kings Cross and the new one in NSW's central west. Rosedurnate is a world away from Kings Cross – a modern, warm and inviting aged care centre spread across three levels and housing 70 residents. But her mission ethic is the same: “It’s being a stable person in people’s lives; being able to listen and to be there when you are needed.” Rosemary says she loved her work. “It is very fulfilling work and quite busy with chapel services, resident outings, activities, and pastoral care.” But most of all, she loves to sit with residents and listen. “Everyone has a story and I love to hear each of them, we spend a lot of time talking and sharing.

The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus is heavily invested in chaplaincy services across its 16 residential aged care centres in NSW, ACT and Queensland. Spiritual care is an integral part its services and these services are available to all, without discrimination. “My goal is to bring daily purpose, quality and meaning of life for everyone,” says Rosemary. “Because regardless of your age or circumstance, everyone deserves dignity and respect.”

To find out more about The Salvation Army's aged care services, visit their website.

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Hope where it's needed most