Mel Pike, Activities Co-ordinator, Seniors Hub, Hunters Hill
Mel has come to various community roles through the visual arts, a discipline in which she has taught university students among others. She spent 15 years teaching in the country including with an aboriginal community, and has taught art to children and people with disabilities. Now she looks for the ‘magic moments’ with elders at the SCS Seniors Hub, Hunters Hill.
About a dozen daily visitors, some with cognitive impairment, come to the Seniors Hub for activities and outings which Mel organises to enrich clients’ vitality and wellbeing. They explore things in many ways – walking, visiting the waterside, through food and activities such as gardening or the ‘memory box’ of objects which spark much conversation.
“People gravitate to what they want to do or talk about and the coordinator needs to be flexible about the activity or conversation and where it goes,” she says.
One of the biggest parts of the day is sharing something delicious to eat. People smell something good cooking and look forward to it and both smells and taste provoke memories and conversation. Mel says it’s not just visitors who benefit from conversations and activities at the Hub: she gets a whole lot out of it too.
“There’s all levels of things to enjoy … otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
She especially enjoys helping people get something out of an activity, looking for those magic moments and extending them whenever possible; watching visitors flourish and friendships blossom. Her approach is to always treat people the way she’d like to be treated.
“People come from all backgrounds and you have to create a safe, trusting place for them to be who they need to be. To hear people say ‘I’ve had a great day’ – that means everything.”