Cath and Kate

I dropped in to Calvary Cessnock last week, I was on my way back to the Cardiff office from one of our other sites further up the Hunter Valley. I thought I would drop in and share some lunch with the Pastoral Care team.

When I called in to reception to say hi to the team, I ran into Cathy and Kate, two of the Admin team at Cessnock. Cathy told me about the past hour they had gone through – two new residents had arrived for admission pretty much simultaneously. 

One of the residents, a lady in her late 60’s with early onset dementia, was very reluctant to get out of the car. Apparently her leaving from home had not gone well and her two sons who had accompanied her to Calvary were quite anxious about how things were going to go. 

The lady was due to be admitted to Elrington Lodge and Kate and the Elrington team, in true Calvary fashion, managed to coax the lady out of the car with the promise of a cuppa and a sandwich. Once she came through the front door of Elrington, she was welcomed so warmly and genuinely, she felt right at home and following on from seeing her room, was happy to stay.

OK, this is a pretty regular occurrence at Calvary Cessnock – not every resident is overjoyed with the idea of moving to an aged care place.

For me, the clincher and the thing that made me so proud about working for Calvary, was the reaction of her two sons. Both sons did not look like the stereotypical sons of an older lady transitioning to aged care. When the staff asked them about their mum and bringing her to Calvary – they both commented about the deep love they had for her that came straight from their hearts and they felt that same love when they walked into Elrington Lodge. They both said that they could now go home and leave mum at Calvary, confident that she would be well cared for and in a loving environment. It was almost as if they had been holding their breath all day, anticipating what was going to happen and now they could let that breath out.

I heard Cath and Kate tell that story and thought, that’s why I love working for this organisation and in particular, being part of our aged care team. We give to those family members a feeling of safety and comfort, of love and compassion that fills up the empty space that has been created by the need to bring the person they love to a place like Calvary. This is the spirit of Calvary in action – “you matter, we care about you”.


Matt Peel, Director of Mission, Calvary Retirement Communities