“An honour and a privilege.” That’s how volunteer Linda Sivyer describes her time with residents at Hilltop, Carinity’s aged care community in Kelvin Grove.
Volunteers offer generous support in aged care, supporting our dedicated teams of personal care workers, nurses and diversional therapists to provide additional opportunities for social connection, activities and even pastoral support.
We spoke to four volunteers to discover how the act of volunteering benefits everyone involved.
For Darryl Tippett, Clifford House at Wooloowin is just like home. Having worked at the community for 20 years, and volunteered for nearly six, he has a deep understanding of how his presence benefits the residents.
While getting hands-on assisting with activities, functions and helping out on regular bus trips are a big feature, Darryl spends much of his time just listening and talking to residents one-on-one. It’s this personal connection that he finds most rewarding.
“You see the smile on their face and the enjoyment they have from a visitor. It’s the interaction,” he says. “They’re just like family, that’s how I class them. They’re family.”
Even during COVID-19 lockdowns, Darryl managed to stay connected to the residents he supports through the art of letter-writing.
“Recently I got a letter from a resident’s daughter, telling me how much her mum used to enjoy my company and the letters I wrote. That’s rewarding.”
Sometimes, the pull to aged care can even catch our volunteers by surprise. Linda Sivyer says that volunteering in aged care happened almost by accident.
“I was drawn to chaplaincy,” Linda explains. “As part of my certificate, I had to do 100 hours of placement. I came here to Carinity Hilltop, and I really enjoyed it. It was different, I got to know the residents really well.”
Linda finds that the simple act of stopping in for a chat goes a long way to brightening someone’s day.
“Some residents who don’t get out to activities really enjoy chatting. I love it, you just knock on the door and go with the flow.”
As a volunteer chaplain, Linda is also available to chat with families and with staff. “We’re here for everyone,” she says. “I’m here as a sounding board, to listen and to help.”
Jan Cracknell spends plenty of time at Karinya Place in Laidley and knows first-hand the benefits volunteers bring. Jan’s transition to volunteering came very naturally. Her beloved husband, Bob, is a resident at Karinya Place.
“I was helping with other residents when I visited my husband, and it was suggested that I volunteer,” Jan explains. “I help take the residents for walks, read to them, take them to the concerts, and play bingo and other games.”
For Jan, volunteering has brought numerous benefits. In addition to making new friends alongside her husband and enjoying some good exercise, the simple act of volunteering has resulted in her feeling more engaged to help her community in other ways, even outside Karinya Place.
There is always a need for more volunteers, with residents greatly appreciating the chance to sit and have a quiet chat. For Jan, it’s a simple recommendation: “Just do it – volunteer.”
Pam Dalrymple, who has been volunteering at Clifford House for nearly 20 years, agrees.
“It has been a privilege to volunteer. If you can help folk a little it means a lot to them. To be able to talk with them and bring a smile to their face is wonderful,” Pam says.
If you’re interested in volunteering with Carinity, you can find out more information here.