Debby Saunders loves making older people smile.
And she attributes the great joy and purpose she feels in her life to volunteering to do just this, at Uniting AgeWell Newnham Community Aldersgate Village.
“If I can make even one person happier each day, then I’m happy,” Debby says. “And I’ve learned over the years that there’s always a way to connect to someone; even a gentle hand massage is a way of showing care.”
It’s National Volunteer Week, (May 15-21) and time to say “thank you from the bottom of our hearts” to all volunteers, like Debby, for their endless work and tireless energy in enriching the lives of others.
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 General Manager Tasmania Jane Johnston 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.”
Debby got into volunteering quite by accident. Nearly five years ago, her mother, Elsie Saunders, needed specialised care after having a fall, and moved to the Aldersgate Village residential aged care facility. Debby worked but had her mornings free, and visited her Mum every day.
“I’d sit with Mum as she enjoyed all the activities on offer: the craft classes, the exercises, the knitting group and bingo. I started to help the lifestyle team, and they soon suggested that I become a regular volunteer,” Debby explains. “And I absolutely love it!”
Debby has never stopped volunteering at the village. She was there throughout COVID when the afterschool care and vacation care programs she ran from her home became a victim of the lockdowns.
“It was challenging, but it was also a hugely uplifting experience,” says Debby. “It was wonderful to know I was making a difference. There’s great joy in creating joy.”
Debby’s Mum passed away in October, and Debby, now 58, says that continuing to volunteer at the facility brings her great comfort.
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!Learn more about volunteering with us