Adding purpose to retirement

Julie Pellas is part of the heart-beat of beautiful Bendigo.

The retired nurse has lived here most of her life; her roots are deep. And she’s delighted she can give back to the people who mean so much to her by volunteering at Uniting AgeWell Strath-Haven Community.

It’s National Volunteer Week and time to time to publicly extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to all our volunteers, like Julie, for their endless work and tireless energy in enriching the lives of our residents and clients.

The theme for this year is The Change Makers which celebrates the power to drive change and ensure volunteering is inclusive of all members of the Australian community.

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly says, “this theme rings true for us, where inclusion is a core value underpinning everything we do. With a long history of volunteer support, Uniting AgeWell’s services have grown and flourished; a vital contribution we recognise and appreciate each and every day.”

Julie, pictured with resident Coral Wilkie and pup Miss Milly, started volunteering at Strath-Haven eight years ago. This also meant she could spend extra time with her parents, who both lived there.

And although her parents died in 2018, Julie has continued in the role, brightening up the lives of many of her school friends’ parents. And friends and families of people she has nursed over the years.

Julie works with lifestyle team. And this has entailed driving the bus to take residents on outings, calling Bingo, assisting with carpet bowls, organising trivia quizzes and still being in charge of organising footy tipping.

“I know absolutely nothing at all about footy,” Julie laughs, “so everyone is happy with me because I’m so impartial.”

What she is passionate about is brightening up the lives of older people. Over the years she’s done paediatric nursing, worked in public health and dedicated the last five years of her career to working in psychiatric nursing and dementia assessment in older people.

“I feel quite selfish actually,” says Julie. “I absolutely love spending time with the residents, and I find we have so many things in common! The other day I was chatting to a resident who worked as an electrical engineer, and we discovered that my dad was his mentor when he was a young man.”

Julie says volunteering is also keeping her purposeful and busy during her retirement. And she loves feeling appreciated and needed.

There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities available at Uniting AgeWell.

Click the link below or call 13 93 75 to see how you too can enrich the lives of older people – and your own!

Find out more about volunteering with us