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Volunteers in aged care high in value and in high demand

A celebration to recognise and reward long serving volunteers within the aged care industry has doubled as a recruiting call for one provider who is looking to the local community to spare a few hours each week to support their seniors.

Braemar's volunteers on the 'thank you' cruise (Source: Breamar Presbyterian Care)
Braemar's volunteers on the 'thank you' cruise (Source: Breamar Presbyterian Care)

Before the New Year, Braemar Presbyterian Care treated 20 of their longest serving volunteers to a cruise, a four-course meal and a commemorative pin as a way of acknowledging their dedication and commitment to the providers “growing volunteer program”.

The celebrated volunteers range in age from millennials through to fellow seniors in their 80s, but through all their differences, Braemar General Manager Workforce Renee Reid, who runs the volunteer program, says they are all “critical” to support the ongoing care and friendship of senior residents.

“Volunteers make an invaluable contribution to Braemar and this event was intended to recognise both their generosity of time and their big hearts,” she says.

“...We wanted to thank them in a memorable way with a special event outside of their everyday lives.”

“In many ways [our] volunteers are the unsung heroes of our community and we’re very fortunate to have passionate individuals that are willing to go the extra mile for our residents.”

Local peak body for volunteering, Volunteering Western Australia (WA) has welcomed the acknowledgement of volunteers in the aged care sector with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tina Williams saying that volunteers play a crucial role in supporting all sectors.

“It’s hard to think of a sector that doesn’t rely on some sort of volunteering and many volunteer involving organisations rely on their contribution,” she says.

“This is also true for the aged care sector which is experiencing growth to support our ageing population.”

Ms Williams adds that the volunteering roles in the aged care sector can provide more support than many might realise.

“Volunteers are utilised in many different ways throughout the aged care sector,” she explains.

“In aged care facilities, volunteers may be asked to support the work that the facility does with roles such as serving coffee to residents, gardening around the premises or just chatting with residents.

“In other circumstances - for example visiting elderly residents at home - volunteers have differing roles such as delivering meals or assisting an aged person to do their shopping.

“Sometimes senior members of our communities have no family or friends visiting, and volunteers have an important role in making sure they don’t feel lonely and have someone to visit them on a regular basis.

“At times, this companionship can be life changing and can decrease anxiety and stress for a senior who may otherwise feel all alone.

“Volunteers play a vital role in providing the services and supports that truly make our communities a better place to live.”

Volunteering WA encourages people to look into volunteering in the aged care sector whether it is at an aged care facility, or in many other services provided for seniors, stating that volunteering isn’t only beneficial to the sector but for volunteers themselves.

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