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A home away from home

22 September 2022
Kathy Doug 600x400

16 years ago, Kathy Collie noticed an advert in the local paper for a HomeShare Host for a new initiative at Presbyterian Support – supporting connection and friendship for older persons within a host’s home. She attended the public meeting, where the concept was explained and thought to herself “I can do that” - so she signed up.

As a part-time nurse, with experience in elderly health, the opportunity was the perfect fit for Kathy and was a chance to continue looking after others. It was so flexible, well supported by the service’s management, and she could do it from the comfort of her own home.

All these years later, Kathy is still enjoying hosting members in her home as an extended part of her family. She usually has four or so members who attend every Wednesday between 10am-3pm. They play cards, games and walk in the garden – whatever the members enjoy and can manage. They also have morning tea and a two-course lunch, which always includes dessert with ice cream!

When asked why she originally decided to become a HomeShare Host for Presbyterian Support, Kathy said that she had wanted to “pay it forward”. And she has certainly done that and then some. Jenny Gill HomeShare Co-ordinator Mid Canterbury says “Kathy’s kindness and desire to help others is what we want to celebrate in acknowledging her time with us. This shows in the extra little touches, like picking flowers from her garden to decorate the table. Kathy even considered the needs of her HomeShare group when purchasing her current property – which is amazingly thoughtful.”

Her members seem to agree. One member joined, and fast forward 11 years - is still attending and is the highlight of their week. At last count, Kathy had clocked up an impressive 28 regular attendees over the years. When her adult son still lived at home, he would often join the group for dessert. A member once joked that he would never leave home as he was treated so well!

Kathy previously hosted by herself, however since her husband Doug retired five years ago, he has been available to help. Now they are a well-oiled machine and often tag team with hosting duties. Kathy and Doug like to do as much as they can for the members whilst they are at their home, Kathy says “It is their opportunity to have a break and enjoy themselves.”

When asked what she loves most about hosting, Kathy said it is the interaction with the people. She says that “They feel part of the family.” Spending such a significant amount of time together, it is a very relaxed atmosphere and great for those who don’t manage well in large groups. It is also a hugely supportive group and bonds have certainly been built whilst sharing “fabulous stories” together.

Kathy’s advice for anyone looking to become a HomeShare Host is “If you want to do it, you can do it” and just to “Be yourself.”


For more information on HomeShare and how you can become involved, please contact your local Presbyterian Support office, and speak with one of our regions’ HomeShare Co-ordinators, or visit our web page.

Presbyterian Support is looking to expand its HomeShare services across its regions.

Will you help?

Our HomeShare service helps so many older people to stay connected. Please help us continue this valued service by donating today! Thank you.

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