Sign Language Being Taught in Wesley Mission Queensland Aged Care Community

on the Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Employees at Wesley Mission Queensland Knowles Court aged care community at Sinnamon Village are learning sign language to create an inclusive environment for deaf residents.

Hearing-impaired trainees have also been introduced to work with elderly residents.

Melissa Petersen, Manager at Knowles Court, currently has two residents who are deaf.

“This is one way of making it easier for them to communicate with us,” Ms Petersen said.

“So far it seems to be going well and we are open to have more hearing-impaired residents as well as trainees.”

David Southwell, 85, is a deaf resident who has been living at Knowles Court in Sinnamon Village since January and is already benefiting from the Auslan trained staff.

His sister-in-law Suzanne Southwell, said the language barrier can be difficult sometimes.

“If the staff cannot sign they have to discuss things with David through pen and paper,” Ms Southwell said.

“The problem with that is he has a basic understanding of written English so, when questions are asked of him, he often misunderstands them or doesn't understand at all.”

Ms Southwell said it could be isolating when people were unable to communicate well with David, but now having staff and other residents that can sign, it should improve David’s wellbeing.

“He will feel much better about being properly understood and understand those around him,” she said.

“It is important to know that staff are trying their best to communicate well with him,” she said.

“It is a great idea to have deaf or hearing-impaired students come and learn with the deaf residents.

“It is good for David to have any interaction with others who can sign.”

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