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Residents and staff recognise Eldercare’s volunteers in time for National Volunteer Week

Events were held across Eldercare’s 11 aged care homes last week to celebrate the contribution of its volunteers, including a morning tea at Allambi where more than 20 of its 59 volunteers were in attendance.

Allambi volunteer Margaret Cox, 91, is the longest serving volunteer at Eldercare with 43 years under her belt.

“I started volunteering back in 1978 because Eldercare was so kind to my mum and I wanted to give something back,” said Margaret.

Allambi volunteer Sal prepared a 15-minute video with messages from residents and staff about how the volunteers have impacted their lives.

Wellbeing Consultant Angie Evreniadis spoke at Allambi's event and said that volunteers are residents’ ‘substitute family and friends’.

“Their impact lingers on for far longer than their visit and it is so appreciated,” said Angie.

Heading west to the Yorke Peninsula, Gabby Moyle, 13, is the youngest volunteer at Eldercare The Village in Maitland, where she spends most days after school reading to the residents, reminiscing with them and learning more about how they grew up.

“It is really interesting learning about their past, how they grew up and how different it is to how people grow up now,” said Gabby.

Gabby also credits her volunteering at The Village to getting better grades – all thanks to the residents who all ask her how she is doing at school.

“I brought in one of my assignments and asked a few residents what they thought – and they made sure to ask how I went a few weeks later,” said Gabby.

“When I received an academic achievement award for English, I brought it in to show the residents and they were really pleased but then they said ‘we want two!’ – so I’m working on that now.”

Gabby said she has made ‘great connections’ with residents and that volunteering has built her confidence.

“But my favourite part about volunteering is I know that I’m making a difference,” said Gabby.

Eldercare Chief Executive Jane Pickering said that while our volunteers contribute an average of 49,000 hours per year, their impact on the lives of our residents and their families is priceless.

“Eldercare’s 280+ contingent of volunteers give their time, skill and passion but, more than that, they bring fun, compassion and dignity to the lives of our residents,” said Jane.

Volunteers like Margaret and Gabby help residents retain a connection with the wider community thanks to our volunteer approach to roles being crafted around individuals’ interests, preferences and personal commitments.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer contact Eldercare Volunteer Program Coordinator Kylie Maher on (08) 8291 1000.

Image: Eldercare The Village volunteer Gabby Moyle with resident Tony Rieniets.

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