Baking from the heart for the soul

Find out how a bit of flour, a bit of butter and a little TLC are making a difference to the lives of our residents and patients in palliative care. 

For the past year something delicious has been going on at Bupa Aged Care Echuca in Victoria.

Lifestyle Coordinator at Bupa Aged Care Echuca, Denise Gilmore, saw an advertisement for Baking From The Heart in a local newspaper calling for volunteers to get involved in a community based project cooked up to bring a little bit of comfort to the patients in palliative care at the local hospital.
Baking From The Heart was born in Shepparton in 2012 by Rhiannon Horrell. Rhiannon felt that those who live with a terminal illness may appreciate a care package to brighten up their day, during what can be a difficult time. 
 
After a couple of successful years in Shepparton, Rhiannon moved to Echuca where a new baking army was born. 
 
Denise immediately recognised that the Baking From The Heart project would be a great opportunity for aged care residents to integrate with the community and take on a fulfilling project.
 
“The program was held once a month, our team members and residents would get onto the Bupa bus and go to a local neighbourhood house with a public kitchen,” tells Kathryn Eyre, General Manager at Bupa Echuca.”
 
“The ladies would bake goodies on Thursdays, and then would help with packaging up the baked goods and delivery on Saturdays.” 
 
Jam cookies
Voluntarily baking biscuits and sweets, and creating custom wrapped, and lovingly packed, boxes of goodies for people who are in the final stages of their lives became more than a just project to keep the aged care residents busy.  

“Seeing my ladies getting on that bus to deliver the goodies was just beautiful,” says Kathryn. 

“One of my residents said to me ‘I just want to see their face when I give them this box.’ It was just beautiful. Here is a resident who is 85 years old and living in an aged care home but is giving back to the people who she considers to be worse off than her.”
 
The act of giving is known to be more rewarding than receiving, however in the process of creating these baked goods the residents received their fair share of joy as well. 
Woman smiling and baking
A joy which melted the years away as they worked.

“The fun and the laughter that they had. I have photos of them when they were icing the cakes. They were mucking around with the icing bags and squirting each other. The fun and frivolity was amazing. The energy that room created was beautiful and everybody forgot about their aches and pains and just got on with the cause that was behind it.”

One of the greatest dangers for the elderly is a feeling of being obsolete, so having an opportunity to work together and give something back to people in need was both fulfilling and uplifting.

“I loved it. I had lots of fun, a lot of laughs. It’s lovely getting together and doing things,” says resident Shirley Yates. “We’re doing something that is very charitable and I get a lot of pleasure out of doing it.”

The Baking From the Heart project truly became baking for the soul.
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