Compassion, commitment and enthusiasm key to success

By Petrina Wright | Posted: Thursday June 20, 2024

Much has been achieved in the pastoral care space for the benefit of Enliven care home residents since Shirley Keen started in the role of pastoral care coordinator 18 months ago.

Enliven supported living and community services manager Juliana Baxter said with Shirley’s compassion, commitment, and enthusiasm the pastoral care, support for residents in Invercargill and Gore had gone from strength to strength.

Shirley leads remembrance services and ANZAC Day services in the care homes, blesses rooms, helps new residents settle in, visits with residents individually to offer company and spiritual support and comforts grieving families.

“I consider it a privilege to work in this space,” Shirley said.

“I have a great passion for what I do, and I have developed some lovely relationships with the residents.”

In addition to weekly church services held in Enliven Southland’s four care homes Shirley had introduced weekly bible study groups and a fellowship group. She had also started a weekly bible study group for residents in the Iona dementia unit.

“I am always looking for ways to improve the wellbeing of the residents.”

Shirley said she had enlisted the help of four volunteer visitors to assist with pastoral care visits and she planned to build the team further.

“My focus at the moment is on growing the volunteer visitors, and I am always looking for gaps in the service.”

A chaplaincy support group had been set up with others doing similar work in the community, which was exciting, she said.

Shirley was grateful for the support she had received from Presbyterian Support Southland to do the role and for the volunteer ministers, musicians, singers and visitors who gave up their time to help in the pastoral care space.

“Together we make a great team, and I am very thankful.”