Verona’s idea to reuse old beds a lifeline for residents

Verona’s idea to reuse old beds a lifeline for residents

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Volunteer Verona Elbers with Graceford’s rescue library.

It’s hard to imagine that Verona Elbers’ amazing little rescue library started life as an old bed frame and boxes of discarded large-print books from the local tip.

Thanks to the volunteer’s vision and some neat handiwork by her husband and a neighbour, Mrs Elbers’ upcycled book trolley is bringing hours of reading pleasure to residents of BaptistCare Graceford Residential Care in Byford.

Romance, mystery and Australian-based stories, along with copies of Top Gear, Wheels, and

Women’s Day are among the titles in high demand when Mrs Elbers makes her Tuesday afternoon library run to visit residents in their rooms.

Sometimes it’s as much about stopping for a chat as it is about providing a great read.

“The interaction is good for the residents, especially if they have few visitors or can’t move around freely,” Mrs Elbers said.

Mrs Elbers first got the idea for the book trolley when she saw some old beds and thought the frames would make great timber book shelves.

The former Good Sammy’s worker, who started volunteering at BaptistCare Graceford after

stopping work during the pandemic, had already stepped in to help the residents’ book club by sharing books from home.

She spends two or three days a week helping out with games and activities and accompanying residents on walks.

“The book club used to go to the community library but this had become unfeasible for them,” Mrs Elbers said.

“I noticed many residents needed large print books to be able to read more comfortably.”

Using the rescued bed frames as inspiration, Mrs Elbers drew up a design for her new book trolley.

Her husband and a neighbour turned her vision into reality while Mrs Elbers kept an eye out for large-print books at local charity shops.

“I got word that the tip shop in Armadale had large-print books and the manager there offered them to me as a donation through the City of Armadale,” Mrs Elbers said.

“Eight boxes of books later and the trolley was full.”

Lifestyle Coordinator at BaptistCare Graceford Zoey Madzongo said a visit by Mrs Elbers and the mobile library was a wonderful addition to the week’s activities for many residents.

“They thoroughly enjoy choosing something to read and having a chat,” she said.

“We’re enormously grateful to Mrs Elbers for her ideas, her enthusiasm and her time to enable more of our residents enjoy the pleasure of reading.”

Reading has been shown to offer a wide range of benefits for seniors. As well helping to keep the brain active, it is relaxing and a proven stress-buster, helping to reduce anxiety. It also has benefits for memory, cognition, concentration and sleep quality.

“And of course, there is always something to chat about when you’re reading a great book or magazine article,” Ms Madzongo said.