It’s almost a year to the day that Paul commenced his new role as Coordinating Chaplain with Helping Hand.
‘When I started on the 1st of September 2021, COVID-19 was a concern, but not really a “thing” we were dealing with every moment of the day in SA. Once the borders reopened, however, the situation changed dramatically for people in aged care’, says Paul. ‘I was sincerely impressed by the response at every level of the organisation, and the efforts made by staff to manage the risk, keep everyone safe, and still keep people connected.’
While Paul comes from a faith perspective, his engagement with people is not always faith based.
‘I am there to listen and to offer social, emotional and spiritual support; to be present to the person, to affirm their struggles and to celebrate their successes. It’s the person I engage with who sets the agenda for the conversation, not me. Engaging with people can range from having a chat about the footy to looking at the big questions of life, and sometimes it’s also helpful for people in that context to talk about faith and spirituality.’
‘Most people I meet would say there is a spiritual aspect to their lives, even when they say they aren’t religious or don’t have a faith. Spirituality is about Meaning, Purpose and Connection, so whatever you believe, or don’t believe, those three things become very real and pertinent, particularly as you get older, and contribute enormously to a person’s sense of wellbeing.’
‘When you are ‘walking’ with a person through a vulnerable moment in their lives, it can weigh heavily on you, but at the same time, connecting with someone is also incredibly uplifting.’
Outside of work, Paul loves sharing common interests with his three adult sons and spending time with his three and a half year old Boston Terrier (pictured below). ‘Birdy is the apple of my eye’, says Paul.
‘I’m also known to get stuck into a good series on Binge or Netflix and enjoy cultural events with the Adelaide Fringe and Festival. To be honest, it would also be beneficial to add a add a bit more fitness and exercise into that balance!’
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