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Volunteering is key to satisfaction in retirement life

Case Study – Grahame Wiseman has always been good at listening to people.

Last updated: February 23rd 2023
Grahame and Pam Wiseman each volunteer in their own way. [Source: Supplied]

Grahame and Pam Wiseman each volunteer in their own way. [Source: Supplied]

Then, when Mr Wiseman was approached to become a chaplain at the local hospital while accompanying his mother, it seemed like a natural volunteer role to take on.

That was 20 years ago! He has continued to volunteer in the decades since, talking to people at the Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside, Queensland, about their worries and helping to care for them through conversation and prayer.

As a retired air force officer, much of Mr Wiseman’s time over the last decade has been taken up by not only his chaplaincy at the hospital, but also as a pastoral care pastor for his Baptist church and a volunteer visitor for the local residential aged care facility.

He is on call and responds to the hospital or aged care home at all hours of the night, whenever someone needs his help to talk through their situation and feel more relaxed.

The biggest thing Mr Wiseman gets out of his volunteer efforts, he says, is satisfaction – satisfaction that he has made someone in distress feel more comfortable.

“It takes a certain type of person to be a chaplain,” Mr Wiseman says, “and the role is all about being able to listen to others, but also steer them into a topic of conversation that puts them in a better frame of mind.”

“If there’s someone you see who you think, ‘Boy, that person would make a good chaplain or make a good visitor’, I’d go up and see them and say, ‘have you thought of coming to the hospital, coming to the aged care place and visiting people?’,” Mr Wiseman encourages.

For those without the chaplaincy gift, another option could be to follow his wife Pam’s style and volunteer with the local op shop.

Ms Wiseman organises a group of eight women to run their church’s shop, all through volunteer hours.

“My wife and I are different,” Mr Wiseman says, “Pam likes going out and having fun, joking, having a bit of a laugh, which is not always the case when you go to visit people in hospital because they’re not always up to it.

“Pam will have a quick chat to somebody and a laugh, and she loves that.”

Three years ago, the couple moved into the retirement village that sits alongside the nursing home Mr Wiseman visits, and they now have greater convenience and a deeper connection with the community.


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