As Australia prepares to celebrate National Volunteer Week (May 20 to 26), aged care providers like Bundaleer prepare to salute the army of unpaid workers who provide more than 110,000 hours of service every year in residential care homes.
Every week more than 23,000 people across the country give up their free time to help provide companionship and support services to our ageing residents.
"Volunteers play a vital role in the lives of our residents and truly make our community a better place to live", said Michelle McKenna, Director of Care at Bundaleer.
"They are amazingly compassionate people, who genuinely care and want to help make a difference to the lives of those around them and all our volunteers really do have the ability to change lives."
"It's not just about providing company, activities and or entertainment. What's equally important is that they are an extra pair of eyes and ears for the medical staff at Bundaleer.
"They get to know people personally at an intimate level that perhaps some of the Doctors and nurses don't, which may mean they can observe changes in people and feed it back to Bundaleer staff and that contribution is invaluable."
Bundaleer was lucky enough to have 34 active volunteers helping out across its care homes and the residential village in the last financial year.
Tarryn McSpadden is the Leisure and Lifestyle Co-ordinator for Bundaleer and says that volunteers at Bundaleer can provide more support than many people might realise.
"In many ways, our volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community and we're very fortunate to have passionate individuals who are willing to go that extra mile for our residents."
"Sometimes our residents won't have a lot of family or friends visiting, and volunteers have an important role in making sure they don't feel lonely and have someone to look forward to visiting them on a regular basis."
"At times, this companionship can be life changing and can decrease anxiety and stress for a resident who may otherwise feel all alone", continues Ms McSpadden.
These volunteers offer our aged care residents a better quality of life by connecting them back to the community and keeping them in touch with the real world beyond BundaleerTarryn McSpadden Leisure and Lifestyle Co-ordinator, Bundaleer
"They often come in every day with a positive and highly motivated spirit that rubs off on the residents.
"Through simple social interactions and a variety of activities the volunteers become the eyes and ears of Bundaleer, which in turn assists staff members and doctors in doing a thorough job.
"Ensuring that residents feel a part of the community and enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle is at the heart of everything that we do at Bundaleer."
Whether you are time poor and can only dedicate a few hours a week or you plan to dedicate yourself daily, the Bundaleer volunteer program can be easily catered to fit your schedule.
And the good news is that volunteering does have its own benefits, both mentally and physically, and it also a wonderful opportunity to give back to a generation that has given us so much and helped shape the world we live in today.
Our residents love sharing their life stories, secrets and meals with our volunteers, and you'll have the opportunity to get your creative juices flowing with the many arts and cultural activities offered amongst our care homes.
If you, or someone you know are looking for a way to share your interests and passions, why not consider becoming an aged care volunteer at Bundaleer?
We run an active calendar of lifestyle events and need volunteers to help to engage our residents in activities that they love to do, but that for one reason or another may find hard to do independently without a little bit of help.
Anything from craft activities such as knitting and quilting, music, indoor and outdoor sports and games and even something as simple as helping with a jigsaw puzzle or even just reading a book or the paper.
The gift of time is the most precious gift you will ever give.
With very little requirements to become a volunteer, the process for getting involved is only a phone call away.
While hands-on care is the work of the Bundaleer carers, volunteers play an important role in the day-to-day happiness and wellbeing of our residents.
Whatever your speciality, there is a place for every volunteer to engage with residents and it doesn't have to be a big commitment - you can make a real difference in as little as an hour a week.
Keen to find out more? We would love to hear from you. Please call Jo or Haylie at Bundaleer on 6585 2811 and discover how easy it is to make a difference.