National Volunteers Week

Bringing joy and purpose through volunteering 

Volunteering plays an important role in retirement village and age care around the country. This week, we look at some success stories for National Volunteers Week. 

Volunteering has made a remarkable comeback following a decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this resurgence, National Volunteers Week, celebrated last week, emphasized the critical role volunteers play in Australian communities, especially among seniors in retirement villages. 

The significance of volunteers is undeniable.  

For instance, Uniting NSW.ACT saw an influx of 500 new volunteers last year, contributing to their network of services. 

 Gail Yap, Uniting Volunteering Lead, highlighted the diverse talents volunteers bring, saying, “Volunteers help to bridge generations and cultures, and in many ways complement and extend formal services provided by organizations such as Uniting.”  

This theme of diversity was central to National Volunteers Week’s theme, “Something for Everyone,” celebrating the unique contributions each volunteer brings. 

Uniting Crookwell volunteers Peter and Sylvia Cullen, Annette Cummins, Cate and Graham Stanton, Therese Harris, and Noel Bridge

Volunteers provide crucial companionship, facilitate favourite activities, and create meaningful connections for seniors. They play an essential role in helping older adults live fulfilling lives, offering them a sense of belonging and purpose, reducing social isolation, and improving overall well-being.  

The positive impact of volunteering extends both ways. Volunteers themselves gain new skills, meet new people, and experience a sense of purpose and community. As Gail Yap puts it, “We need volunteers now more than ever.” 

One compelling example of the positive impact of volunteering comes from the Specialist Dementia Care Unit (SDCU) at HammondCare Horsley. Volunteer musician Di Davies has brought joy to residents through her singalongs.  

Di shared, “It’s great to be able to go into the lives of these residents, who have been doing it tough, and provide some happiness for them.”  

Her performances have made a significant difference, even encouraging residents who were previously indifferent to music to engage and enjoy the sessions. 

Volunteer Di Davies performing inside HammondCare Horsley’s Hart Cottage

Like Uniting NSW/ACT, HammondCare is actively seeking more volunteers to continue providing such enriching experiences. 

Belinda Holst, Head of Volunteer Services at HammondCare, mentioned they aim to recruit 40 additional volunteers for various roles, from driving buses and gardening to simply offering companionship and conversation. 

The resurgence of volunteering, highlighted during National Volunteers Week, underscores its importance in enhancing the lives of Australian seniors. Retirement village managers and professionals should encourage and facilitate volunteer involvement, recognizing the profound and mutual benefits it brings. 

Volunteering not only supports residents but also fosters a sense of community within retirement villages. The efforts of volunteers help ensure that retirement village residents lead vibrant, connected lives.  

As Di Davies aptly puts it, “If it’s something you can do, please think about it – you can change someone’s life.” 

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