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Jack Turvey, 80, is the much-loved sing-along leader at Wentworth Lodge.

Friendly Guy comes calling for seniors

By Bobbie Smith, Special to the News

When the residents at Wentworth Lodge get word Jack Turvey is coming in, the atmosphere changes.

Eighty-year old Turvey is not a resident; he’s the entertainment and has been for the last few years.

“I was always the type to sing in the car,” said Turvey.

So being approached to help out with the lodge’s sing along wasn’t a surprise.

Turvey sings, tells jokes and entertains not only residents, but himself, too.
“I love to travel to Europe,” he said. “I love the history. I love Italy, Spain, France and England. I used to travel with my wife all the time.”

But Turvey misses volunteering at the lodge when he’s away.

Turvey started volunteering at Wentworth Lodge when his wife was a resident. After she passed away, he needed to stay.

“I get so much out of it,” said Turvey, adding he wished he had started sooner because of the pleasure he enjoys and the meaning it has for the residents.

“I can see it in their faces when I open the sing along by asking, ‘How is everybody doing?’ and they all yell out, ‘fantastic.’”

Turvey does karaoke or works with a pianist. The old songs have an effect on residents, he said. He often sees husbands and wives smiling or holding hands, which inspires him to keep coming back.

“Music can catch a memory for residents,” he said.

Turvey isn’t just a friendly sing-along leader, he’s also a friendly caller twice a week with the Dundas Community Services’ Friendly Caller program, which supports isolated, lonely or housebound seniors who live in the Greater Hamilton area.

Turvey is one of several caring and compassionate volunteers who make friendly 15- to 30-minute calls to seniors once a week. He shares information about events and activities in the community and, where appropriate, links seniors to community supports and resources.
Turvey said he enjoys calling seniors a few times a week.

“I’m not sure how much they get out of the phone call, but then, people are by themselves, so they probably appreciate it.”

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