Inspired by the book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by American surgeon Atul Gawande, Gingin go-getter Sylvia Kelly has instigated a local care group aimed at supporting aging members of her community.
After reading the book, which addresses end-of-life care, hospice care, and also contains Gawande’s reflections and personal stories, Sylvia requested several copies for the Gingin Library.
“This problem of how aged care is not being done anywhere well, niggled and niggled me! I loaned out copies of the book to about 12 people who I thought would really care,” said Sylvia.
After reading the book, they unanimously agreed something should be done – and the Gingin Care Group was born.
They first set out to find out how they could best support the elderly in need in their community. It was local doctors who provided the answer. “They told me the greatest need was actually getting people to appointments,” explained Sylvia. The added challenge of living a rural town with no public transport meant many people had difficulty getting to see specialists – and most did not want to constantly impose on friends or family members living far away.
After kind friends gave Sylvia a car to use, a system of volunteer drivers was created to offer transport to locals who needed to get to appointments. “We went everywhere!” Said Sylvia. “Charlie Gardner, Midland, Joondalup – wherever we needed to go! We crammed into the tiny car – sometimes four adults – and often for a six hour round trip.”
The service is very obviously in great demand, and the group calculated they have travelled 18,255 kilometers just this year! It was soon decided that an upgraded car was required to make travel safer and more comfortable, as well as easier for drivers. Of course, Sylvia and the Gingin Care Group didn’t stop until they made it happen!
Gingin Treasure Trove had been fundraising already and were keen to support the project. They were the first to trump up $5,000, and the rest followed. Image Resources, Bendigo Bank Gingin and Piacentini and Sons all donated $5,000 to the aquistion of a new vehicle, and the Gingin Shire committed to funding the insurance, ongoing maintenance and fuel costs.
“The Gingin Community Car Program is such a significant community service directly influencing the lives of others in need. It is a positive, sustainable and effective community program that eases the burden of pain and suffering caused through illness for the Shire of Gingin community,” said Helen Sutherland, Community Development Officer at the Shire of Gingin, in thanking the sponsorship partners and the dedicated group of volunteers who make it possible.