Our volunteers got creative with our friends in aged care homes during lockdownJune 17, 2020
Nothing is greater than the hearts motivation to touch the lives of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. CatholicCare’s Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) volunteers know this. These wonderful people spend an hour once a fortnight developing friendships, having a chat and sharing a cuppa with people in aged care homes on the Northern Beaches who may not have many visitors.
Due to the changes in visiting aged care homes since COVID-19 and the “lockdown” our volunteers are having to get creative – phoning, writing letters and emailing their buddies instead. The joy they are bringing especially during these unusual times is immeasurable!
Volunteer Gill is catching up with Gloria who is vision impaired by phone each week. She plays her favourite songs over the phone and reads her poetry. “I love hearing Gloria sing along to her favourite tunes and I know how much she looks forward to my calls as this is a particularly isolating time for our seniors in homes”, Gill says.
Our volunteers experience great personal happiness and satisfaction. We know because they’ve told us. Ever heard of the term ‘helper’s high’? Well, there’s plenty of statistics to back it up. Research has consistently shown that people who give up some of their time or skills to help others are generally happier. A 2012 study of 5,000 people found that volunteers were happier, healthier and slept better than those who didn’t volunteer. And in research published in The International Journal of Person Centered Medicine, sustained volunteering was associated with better mental health. It’s no wonder then, that 44% of volunteers surveyed in 2006 by The Australian Bureau of Statistics gave personal satisfaction as a reason for volunteering, while 36% said they simply wanted ‘to do something worthwhile.’
Why not give volunteering a try and find out for yourself? Last year we had 50 volunteers visiting 75 elderly residents across 13 aged care homes across the Northern Beaches. Our one-on-one visiting scheme matches volunteers from the local community with residents who live in aged care facilities who have been identified as socially isolated. Their quality of life is much improved by this companionship! This year, we hope to increase these numbers and reach even more seniors. Maybe you fancy a game of chess with someone, or you simply want to sit and have a chat. Either way, CatholicCare would love your help. The visiting times are very flexible and volunteers need to commit to just one hour each fortnight. Orientation and ongoing training and support is provided and there is also an opportunity for social gatherings.
If you can help, contact Rosemary Edgar on 0418 435 304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A huge thank you to all of CatholicCare’s wonderful volunteers who inspire us daily!