Thank you for the music

Monash Gardens Volunteer Laura Facci

“Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do; you get a lot out of doing something good for someone else. I always walk out on a high,” says Laura, who has been faithfully volunteering at our Monash Gardens residential aged care home in Mulgrave for over ten years. She is one of our 46 volunteers, who we gratefully celebrate and honour this National Volunteer Week (20-26 May).

A seasoned pianist, Laura decided to give her musical talents to the community at Monash Gardens after her father, who used to be a resident there many years ago, passed away.

“I knew everybody at the home and thought it would be a nice way to give back. I’ve got something that I can offer and they really enjoy it,” says Laura.

Every second Tuesday, Laura plays the piano to a captive audience of residents who look forward to her recitals with anticipation. The music transports them to happy times in their lives and Laura has a well-honed repertoire of songs she knows they all enjoy.

“I like to play pieces that mean something to them, like songs from the war years by Vera Lynn or Cole Porter, and I also play themes from movies like Dr. Zhivago. I have a little interlude when I play some classical pieces and then I go back to some of the songs they know from light opera,” says Laura. “The really enjoy the music and it’s lovely, especially when I hear them humming along.”

Residents with dementia, many of whom are no longer able to communicate, particularly respond to the music. “One resident with dementia remembers all the words to the songs I play. So that’s always nice when I hear her singing,” says Laura.

Laura loves the community Monash Gardens and can’t recommend volunteering in aged care highly enough. “It’s a wonderful thing to do, particularly for people who are in aged care because some of them don’t have any visitors at all,” she says.  “I think I get more out of it than even the residents do, because it really is a joy to see them happy.”

“One resident often says to me, ‘You’re the highlight of the week’. Now, I know I’m not; I just bring to them a little bit of nostalgia through the music I play. They call it a concert, but it’s really just me letting them relive some of their memories,” says Laura.

Across our seven residential aged care homes we have many wonderful volunteers who generously give their time, talents and friendship to our residents. They are a vital part of the life and soul of these communities, and we are deeply grateful for their commitment and positive contributions.

If you would like to join our amazing team of volunteers, visit: royalfreemasons.org.au/career/become-a-volunteer/

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