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Auxiliary a surrogate family for Carinya residents

The Friends of Carinya Auxiliary is committed to helping make the everyday lives of Carinya residents more special.

“It’s like a surrogate family to residents,” explained Marion Sparrow, secretary and one of the founding members of the auxiliary 25 years ago.

“We help them to purchase or do things to offer them the best possible life, within limits.”

Carinya provides highly specialised and unique care for elderly members of the community who have dementia or mental health diagnoses and cannot be managed in generic nursing homes due to behavioural issues.

Over the years, the auxiliary has raised more than $100,000 for Carinya. They have funded farm visits, limousine rides, shopping tours and fashion parades. They have also funded improvements to the care environment including canvas awnings for windows, recliner wheelchairs, an outdoor BBQ area and a commissioned tactile wall that addresses the sensory needs of restless residents.

“I have a lot of insight into the residents’ needs through my role as a diversional therapist,” explained Marion.  

“If residents have a goal they would like to achieve but there is no funding then the Friends of Carinya Auxiliary will fund the activity so they can reach their goal”

An example of this was the auxiliary arranging and funding music therapy for a resident.

The auxiliary has 10 members – two original members who have served 25 years, two members who have served 15 years and three members who have served 10 years.

“One of our 15-year members first joined with her mother when her father was a resident,” recalled Marion.

“When he passed away they both continued. The mother was on the auxiliary and turned up to every meeting until she was 99-years-old.”

“The auxiliary has become a family – the bond between members continues even after family members at Carinya pass away.”

The close-knit group are all very passionate about making a difference to the lives of Carinya residents and have been nominated for the Minister for Health 2017 Volunteer Awards for their work improving public healthcare.

If you would like to be involved in the auxiliary, please contact Peninsula Health Volunteer Manager Helen Wilson on 03 9784 2673 or email hwilson@phcn.vic.gov.au.  

 “We always welcome new people.” Marion said.


Jessica Mills
Peninsula Health Media