Selfless volunteers priceless to aged care

Tuesday, 14 May

Volunteers are worth more than $25 billion to the Victorian economy every year, but to non-profit aged care provider Uniting AgeWell they are priceless.

This National Volunteer Week (20-26 May), Uniting AgeWell is celebrating its team of more than 700 volunteers who selflessly give their time to enrich the lives of others.

Uniting AgeWell’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year Victoria, Lou Bonnici, has become an invaluable support to the Kingsville Community team over the past four years.

Volunteering three days a week, Lou provides friendship and support to the residents, along with helping the on-site hairdresser by sweeping floors and collecting clients and setting up activities and attending outings for the lifestyle team.

“There are times when I’ll do a one-on-one and go for a walk with a resident who likes to walk,” she said.

“I might take a group outside to sit in the sun, go to the coffee shop, run the Bingo or, if we’ve got a concert on, I bring residents from their rooms into the lounge.  

“There are times when I’ll just pop in and say hello to residents because some of them don’t get a lot of visitors.

Lou, who stars in a video celebrating Uniting AgeWell’s volunteers, said her unpaid work was more rewarding than any paid job she ever had.

“Money doesn’t mean much,” she said.  “As long as you get the opportunities to make an older person smile or feel comfortable, that’s what it’s all about.

“When you do something and you see them smile as a result of it, that’s more rewarding than any money.”

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly said people like Lou provided friendship to clients, contributed to events, gardened, and assisted with administration, transport, and much more across Uniting AgeWell.

“Our volunteers each make a valuable contribution to Uniting AgeWell and we are extremely grateful to them for doing so,” he said.

“We could not provide the high level of care our clients enjoy every day without our loyal and devoted army of volunteers.”

For information about becoming a Uniting AgeWell volunteer, contact 03 9251 5219 for Victoria or email volunteers@unitingagewell.org. To watch the video, visit unitingagewell.org/volunteer