3 ways that bring joy - with Kathryn McCahon
Kathryn grew up in an Airforce family and experienced a lot of house moves in her early years – with her three brothers she spent time in Wigram Airforce Base in Christchurch in a close-knit community before the family moved to settle in Devonport when she was about 10 years old. She attended St Leos primary school followed by Carmel college. She now finds herself working just across the road from her old high school! She loves the sense of community and connections with place that comes from living in an area for a long time. She also loves dogs and enjoys looking after other people’s dogs. She still enjoys being a bit of a nomad/gypsy and moving around different houses.
Kathryn owned a recycled clothing boutique in Mairangi Bay for many years. Prior to owning this boutique she worked in rest homes as she loves spending time and nurturing, valuing older people. When a role came up in Age Concern it was the perfect fit for her and she’s spent about 14 years working at Age Concern. Kathryn co-ordinates a volunteer visiting service for isolated older people in the region to help develop morale, connectivity and inclusion. She recruits, screens and trains volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to match up with an older person. Often the older people she is working with are socially isolated and may not have any family living close by, so Age Concern helps them find necessary services and support. In her current role she works with volunteers who gift 1 hour of their time each week to spend with an older person and bring them company and face-to-face connection. She sees her role as ‘making friendships’ and loves the Age Concern volunteers who give of their time to show kindness to older people in our community who may be experiencing isolation and loneliness.
3 ways that bring joy
My family – I just adore being Granny to my 4-year old grand-daughter it brings me true joy spending time with her and watching her grow. And being a mother to my three children – Emma, Elizabeth and Adam. For me the value of family is being the best parent I can possibly be and seeing my children grow into the amazing adults that they have become. We must make the time we have here count, in the end all I want for in my life is to know that I have been a good mother, a good daughter and a good grandmother – this is life’s greatest joy for me.
My work at Age Concern– I am passionate about older people and the value they bring in our communities. I really have a strong empathy and connection with older people and I feel that nowadays in western societies like NZ older people often don’t have the same mana and respect that older people have in other cultures. I truly love the work I do at Age Concern and the support we can offer.
Mindfulness – lately I’ve been using the tools of mindfulness to experience the everyday joy of life – such as appreciating the sunshine today, the small, simple moments and experiences. If you slow down and use all of your senses you can truly be in the present moment. Fully present.
One thing people can do to contribute to a better, kinder New Zealand
Being kind to one another – I grew up in NZ of the 1960s and 70s when everyone knew one another and neighbours would help each other out without question in times of need – make meals when someone was ill and generally looked out for each other’s children. If there’s one thing we could all do is get to know our neighbours – and find out who they are, offer support when needed. Also I think if people were more open and tolerant to other cultures/ethnic groups that would help build kindness in our country. I love the Ellen DeGeneres quote “Be kind to one another.” It’s a good one to live by.
This interview was done in Kathryn’s personal capacity but if you’d like to find out more about Age Concern and the work that they do follow the link below: