Hidden Healthcare: Enriching the lives of residents

Friday, November 15, 2019 health promotionrehabilitationsupport
Hidden Healthcare: Enriching the lives of residents Mark Gordon has been organising activities for residents in Bendigo Health aged care facilities for 24 years.
Hidden Healthcare takes a look behind the scenes at some of the people powering regional Victoria's largest hospital.

Mark Gordon never underestimates the power of a smile.

Having worked as a Lifestyle Coordinator at Carshalton House for 24 years, he’s helped brighten up many a day for residents and seen first-hand the benefits of humour, laughter and interaction.

“For a lot of the residents in here, staff are like family and we treat them that way. You want to make them smile and enjoy themselves,” he said.

From lawn bowls in the dining room to weekly exercise sessions, residents at Carshalton House have plenty of choice.

There’s also a number of excursions, weekly shopping trips and a daily coffee club meeting at the Golden Oaks complex.

“You have to provide a variety of things because different residents are at different stages of their life, suffering from different conditions, so not everything fits,” he said.

The activities are timed to provide structure to the residents’ days, giving them a purpose and drive to get out of bed, Mark says.

“We go around each morning trying to encourage as many as we can to come to the activities of the day, but at the end of the day it’s the residents’ choice, we don’t force anything upon them,” he said.

And he’s convinced of the medical benefits of the activities.

“It prolongs their life. It’s better than being isolated and sitting in your room all day or watching TV in the lounge,” he said.

“It’s good to see the residents interacting with one another, getting them out of their rooms and keeping them active.”

Growing up surrounded by grandparents, Mark was always drawn to a career with the elderly.

“I started off as a cleaner and worked in a factory but liked the idea of improving the lives of the residents,” he said.

Mark’s job satisfaction comes from having an intimate understanding of the residents which enables him to provide emotional or social support. 

“Knowing a lot about their background and personality helps being able to put a smile on their face,” he said.