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Students lend a helping hand at Davis House

Students from Mercedes College recently volunteered their time to deliver short presentations for our visitors to Davis House. The presentations included updates on the day, local and national news and weather reports.

Davis House is MercyCare’s respite centre for people over the age of 65 who are living with dementia. They can stay there for up to four nights to give family members and partners time to take a break or continue working.

MercyCare Respite and Day Centre Manager Paula Bignell said having young people volunteer at Davis House was invaluable.

“The people we support at Davis House respond well to the additional enthusiasm and vibrancy the students bring,” she said.

“They enjoy having younger people around to interact with.

“People experiencing dementia may find their awareness and knowledge of details like the day of the week, news and current events, are affected.

“The presentations the students gave help them to keep in touch with what’s happening in the world and remain connected.

“The interaction with the students has triggered people to reminisce and share their life stories on travelling, and the communities they have previously lived and worked in.”

Students were spending time at Davis House as part of their Service Learning Program, which requires them to offer 20 hours volunteering in the community.

Mercedes College student Natasha Webb, 14, said the presentations encouraged people to talk about their life experiences.

“I enjoy interacting with elderly people because they tell me about how life was when they were younger and about things that I wouldn’t experience now. It’s really interesting to hear about their past and their happy memories,” Natasha said.

“If they’ve lived somewhere else in Australia besides Perth they get to hear about what the weather is like in that place and it brings back memories for them.

“For example, Kevin used to live in Tasmania and when we talk about the weather in Hobart he remembers his days playing football and being captain of the team. It brings back good memories.”

Classmate Mehak Satnani, 14, said the program was a great opportunity to interact and spend time with older people in the community.

“They may not be able to read the newspaper themselves but by listening to our presentations they still know what’s going on in the world and what the weather is like across Australia,” Mehak said.

“They like to hear about the weather in other states where they have family members or friends living.”

For more information about Davis House, or to arrange a visit, please call 9381 9789.