Anglicare Sydney provides free chaplaincy service to all those accessing the Anglicare At Home (AAH) program. The program offers personal support for older people who are living at home and have an Anglicare At Home package.
Anglicare At Home is part of Anglicare’s vision to provide holistic care for every person on an Anglicare At Home Package. While Anglicare Care Workers focus on the physical needs of older people, the Chaplain nurtures the spiritual.
“Old age often isolates Christians from their church, so a Chaplain’s visit can be a vital support for their faith,” explains Francis Chalwell, Head of Anglicare’s Aged Care Chaplaincy program.
“One client told me that she had to be picked up and taken home by one of the members of the congregation after she lost her driver’s license. Then, one Sunday as she was waiting outside to be picked up, no one came. She sat for more than 10 Sundays, but nobody came. And now, she doesn’t go to church.
“For those people who are not Christians, the Chaplain may have opportunities to sensitively and gently point them to Christ.”
There are 9 Anglicare at Home Chaplains who cover certain areas of Sydney. Some go south as far as Bateman’s Bay, others north to the Hawkesbury and others west to beyond Katoomba.
When a client engages Anglicare At Home for one of their aged care packages, a Chaplain contacts them and offers a visit. An Anglicare chaplain then visits them once that offer is accepted.
“The Chaplain goes into every home with an open heart and open mind,” says Mr Chalwell.
“I have accompanied each of the team members on at least 2 visits and I am astonished at the smiles of delight they receive when the resident opens the door.
“During a normal visit, the Chaplain provides a listening ear and tries to understand the ‘voice of the heart’. People who don’t profess to be Christian also value the visits too and, where appropriate, the Chaplain will read the Bible and pray for the person. A client might then be visited regularly by their Chaplain, should they request it.”
For Mr Chalwell, it is the strong bond that a Chaplain can make with an older person that makes the job worthwhile.
“The Anglicare At Home team like to see themselves as caring for clients like they are our family. Well, the Anglicare At Home Chaplains like to see themselves as caring for clients like they are our “forever” family.”
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