A Bundaberg retiree has been named Carinity’s Volunteer of the Year in recognition of her dedication to bringing joy to aged care residents.
Del Baxter has devoted herself to creating beautiful gardens at the Carinity Kepnock Grove seniors’ community.
She has worked tirelessly to plant, weed, maintain and replace the gardens at Carinity Kepnock Grove and transform outdoor spaces into a lush green oasis for residents and staff to enjoy.
Over the years Del has planted and tended to hundreds of plants, as well as planting and nurturing a lemon tree and herb garden, to complement the work of Carinity’s on-site grounds staff.
Carinity Kepnock Grove Residential Manager Jodie Little says Del is “very committed and dedicated” and cares for the gardens rain or shine.
“Del spends hours each week, and a lot of her own money, watering and weeding and bringing enormous joy to all who benefit from the beauty she creates,” Jodie says.
“She spends most days and weekends from mid-morning to late-afternoon beautifying our grounds and courtyards.
“Del does the upkeep of watering the lawns and has the gardens in exceptional bloom. She brings cuttings and seedlings from her own garden to plant and has a high knowledge of plants which she is happy to share.”
Jodie says research has shown that natural environments can have a positive impact on wellbeing, and engaging residents in the nurturing of plants enables them to live with purpose.
“The residents enjoy sitting in the courtyards admiring the different flowers and having a friendly chat with Del. She is happy to include the residents in planting, trimming and watering plants when they wish to join in,” Jodie says.
Del says she likes to plant “anything that looks goods in the nurseries” and “anything that attracts the elderly people and makes them happy”.
As well as being a fun hobby, greening the aged care community is Del’s way of giving back to Carinity Kepnock Grove as a ‘thank you’ for the care given to her late husband, Reg.
“I wanted to do something to repay them for looking after Reg, they were so nice to him and I wouldn’t have had him go anywhere else,” Del says.
“Gardening also gets me out of the unit and gives me something to do. I’m not used to sitting around and doing nothing.
“My mum was a good gardener and my eldest son, he copied her. He’s more skilled with some of the plants than I am.”
Del was one of four outstanding Carinity supporters acknowledged at a special luncheon for volunteers held in Brisbane on August 23.
“I knew I was nominated but I didn’t think I would win anything. I’m not a person who wants accolades, but to win the award was very nice,” Del says.
Awards were also presented to Carinity’s chaplain, supporter and team of the year.