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Diversity and Inclusion series: Pat's story

8 January 2020

Every Wednesday for two years, eighty-five-year-old Pat Jordan has caught the bus to volunteer at MercyCare Residential Aged Care Joondalup.

Welcome to our special series celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in MercyCare’s employees, volunteers and service users. Our stories are accompanied by Steve Wise’s remarkable photographs, that show how these ordinary, yet extraordinary, people are individually effecting change for themselves and the people around them. We hope you enjoy their personal stories.

Pat Jordan - MercyCare Residential Aged Care Joondalup Volunteer

Every Wednesday for two years, eighty-five-year-old Pat Jordan has caught the bus to volunteer
at MercyCare Residential Aged Care Joondalup.

He has provided an ear for aged care residents and shown off his fancy footwork at exercise class.

Pat started visiting the Centre when his wife Patricia was admitted. His call-ins over the next two years provided not only company for Patricia, but the other residents too.

“When I’d come in, sometimes my wife used to be asleep all day and I just got talking to some of the people,” Pat said.

“People love talking and sometimes they just
need someone to listen. I imagine some don’t have relatives come to visit.”

Patricia sadly passed away, but Pat made the decision to continue visiting, this time under the guise of volunteer.

Pat has provided an invaluable service, allowing many residents to join activities.

His morning starts early with strong cups of tea and chats with residents before bringing the jokes and fast footwork to the exercise group run by therapy assistant Nigil Fairman.

Pat is not only a star pupil, but the class leader.

“When we do exercise with Nigil we have a laugh with them. We don’t just make it exercise which is boring to some people. And plenty of them show they have cheek and still got a bit of spirit in them.”

He has also been instrumental with tasks during hand therapy and helped push residents in chairs to the park for cake and tea.

Pat too has gained his own sense of inclusion and satisfaction.

“Volunteering makes me feel included in the community. When you first start you feel a bit strange but after a while, you’re thankful for it really. And you enjoy doing it.

“Some of the people here are real characters as well, you know?”

Pat recalled one resident Mary who was a plotter during World War II, her role vital in monitoring and mapping the air force during battles.

“Some of them have had top jobs in their life. I treat everyone the same, equally.”

While he has loved hearing the stories of residents, his own globe-trotting history is no less interesting.

He grew up in Liverpool in a rough neighbourhood, the eldest of five brothers. He worked as a 33,000 volt cable jointer (“none of those Micky Mouse cables thanks you very much”) and spent five years in the British Army.

During the 1950’s he was posted to Egypt alongside the Suez Canal where he lived on “biscuits that could break stone”.

After semi-retiring to Portugal for 20 years, he moved to Perth at 64 years old to join his daughter, two grandchildren and now one great grandchild.

“I’d like to be at my great grand daughter’s wedding.”

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