May 16, 2023

Aged 21 or 90, anyone can volunteer

Many not-for-profit organisations that are reliant on volunteer support have struggled to keep volunteers since the COVID-19 pandemic. [Source: supplied]

Lily Burns and Charlise Hannagan may be 70 years apart in age but both agree that age is no barrier when it comes to volunteering.

Lily, 90, of New South Wales’ (NSW) Moorebank is one of HammondCare’s oldest volunteers while Charlise, aged 21, is one of the youngest. 

HammondCare has about 750 volunteers and it is looking for more people willing to give 1-2 hours a week for 12 months or longer in the community, in aged care homes or hospitals.

There are millions of volunteers across Australia and they play a key part in addressing the social isolation and loneliness of older people who are living in residential aged care facilities or receiving care at home.

Each week, Lily makes social visits to HammondCare’s The Pines aged care home where she brings laughter into the lives of residents who all live with dementia and loves interacting with them.

“We play bingo, dominoes, Uno or whatever they want to play, but usually they want to play bingo!” she said.

“The winner gets some sugar-free lollies that I bring along, but then again everyone gets some sugar-free lollies whether they win or not!” 

Lily’s decision to volunteer was born after she lost her husband Laurie six years ago this month after his own 15-year journey with dementia.

Charlise volunteers her time to HammondCare’s home care residents in the NSW suburb of Narellan where she is able to bring along her dog, Mollie.

A National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support worker who plans to study Medicine, Charlise said she finds providing companionship to people in their homes rewarding.

“I go into their houses and I bring Mollie,” she said.

Charlise said she doesn’t know of any friends or anyone in her age group volunteering – something she’d like to see change.

Both Lily and Charlise are a part of HammondCare’s new Volunteer with Us campaign which aims to find other people keen on making a real difference in volunteering roles in NSW, the ACT and Victoria working in residential aged care, home care and hospitals.

Opportunities to volunteer with HammondCare are as varied as the clients. From music and art therapy to one-on-one companionship, your passion can be fulfilled through volunteering in aged care.

To learn more about volunteering opportunities with HammondCare, click here.

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