May 09

Volunteer program helps aged care residents feel at home

Whether it is knitting, fishing or even skydiving that you’re into, having activities and hobbies you enjoy is important no matter what stage of life you’re at.

In conjunction with National Volunteer Week 20-26 May 2019, Estia Health’s new Southport home is calling for volunteers to help residents feel part of their local community – and to encourage and welcome the local community into the home.

Chris Miller, Executive Director of the new home, along with Lifestyle Coordinator Ulrike Schulz, strongly believe in building connections with the local community and see real value in volunteers helping residents settle into the home.

“Moving into aged care can be an unsettling experience and by getting to know each resident, together with their family, we create a lifestyle program that caters for many specialist interests as well as general group activities,” Mr Miller said.

“Volunteers bring valuable skills or shared interests with residents around culture and hobbies and these can play a really important role in building connections with residents and incorporating this into daily activities within the home.”

Volunteers also often get more than just a good feeling from contributing to their community through volunteering.

“Our residents have a wealth of life experience and many have led extremely interesting lives so we find our volunteers gain just as much from the experience as our residents do,” Mr Miller said.

Ms Schulz said her experience working closely with volunteers has been positive and rewarding.

“One of my most wonderful volunteers has been a young man with an intellectual impairment who had not been able to find paid work, so his work became the aged care facility. He suddenly found a focus and the residents loved his companionship, benefiting from the time he devoted to them.”

“I have seen the happy smiles, laughter and tears of emotion so can appreciate the benefits for all involved and will always strive to introduce as many volunteers as possible into our residents’ lives.”

Estia Health Southport has undergone a $28 million rebuild over the past 18 months with new residents starting to move in from the end of May.

Previously Lifestyle Coordinator at the old Southport home, Ulrike Schulz is looking forward to taking up the position again, this time in the rebuilt facility.

“We will be welcoming new residents to the home in a matter of weeks so we are keen to make connections with people in the suburbs surrounding Southport as we develop our lifestyle and volunteering program.

“We would welcome volunteers with a wide variety of interests – anything from art and craft, painting, music, gardening, exercise, pet therapy, school visits and storytelling  – if you have a passion that you’d love to share, we’d love to hear from you, as I’m sure our residents would.”

To express interest in volunteering at Estia Health’s new Southport home, please contact lifestylesouthport@estiahealth.com.au.

Estia Southport will be holding a Community Open Day on Saturday 25 May, with everyone welcome to attend, view the home and sign up as a volunteer.

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