“I hear you!’

It’s a thumbs-up for Auslan from Uniting AgeWell Kalkee Community Murray Lifestyle Coordinator Fiona Allchin and resident Lyndsay Morrow.

And during National Hearing Awareness Week from March 1-7, we’re handing it to Fiona and the staff and residents at the Geelong aged care facility who have been learning Auslan, so they can sign to those who are hard of hearing.

And Lyndsay, who has only done one or two lessons, is keen to learn more. He’s already mastered a number of signs, including one for “jumping for joy.”

She is one of those wonderful people who listens to residents. Really listens. So when one of the many hearing-challenged residents asked her to remove her mask so they could read her lips and better understand what she was saying, Fiona told them she couldn’t – but that she would try and think of a plan.

And that’s when Fiona came up with the idea of learning Auslan, so she and other staff members could better communicate with residents.

They hadn’t anticipated the effect this would have on residents. Many wanted to learn too!

Fiona arranged for an Auslan teacher to come in. And the teacher started working with both the staff and residents and teaching them sign language.

“It’s been great to be able to communicate more easily, and this obviously aids in cognitive stimulation for the residents. It’s a win-win all round,” Fiona says.

And Fiona is also very appreciative of the support from Uniting AgeWell for her initiative. “Uniting AgeWell has always been very receptive to innovation and new ideas,” she says, “it’s great!”

Not only is Uniting AgeWell receptive to new ideas – it’s part of our values of kindness, respect, integrity, innovation and inclusion.

Learn more about careers with Uniting AgeWell