Volunteering a life-changing experience

Anne Davis says volunteering to spend time chatting to older people through Uniting AgeWell literally changed her life.

The retired Ballarat financial worker found herself becoming increasingly withdrawn during the series of COVID lockdowns. To make matters worse, Anne underwent two major back surgeries and two knee replacements in quick succession, leaving her incapacitated while she recovered.

“I lost confidence in myself,” explains Anne. “I became increasingly introverted and isolated, and one day my husband suggested I start volunteering.”

George, who first volunteered at the Uniting Church before offering his services to assist in transporting Uniting AgeWell clients to appointments, told Anne she should give it a go.

She did – and the rest is history.

During Covid lock-downs, Anne chatted to clients via phone and did transport driving duties. Then she started visiting clients in their homes providing social interaction and support.

She currently visits an 86-year-old lady for two hours a fortnight, and says they always have a wonderful time.

“She doesn’t drive, so I take her out to coffee and we have fun trying out new places,” explains Anne. “We always have so much to chat about. Our families, our shared love of cooking or places to dine out in Ballarat.”

Anne, who has step grandchildren and a great-grandchild, says: “It’s lovely to be told that I make a difference to the lives of other people, but to be honest I receive ten times more than I give through volunteering.”
Anne has also made friends with other volunteers and enjoys feeling part of the wider Uniting AgeWell family.

Every month she accompanies the Uniting AgeWell Volunteer Coordinator (Ballarat) Kerry Reynolds when they drive to Ararat for the “Odd Bods”. “The group gets together to play games such as bingo, UNO and to listen to lectures on health and wellbeing. Christmas in July was great fun. They have a good laugh and a chat,” explains Anne. “The group provides company and support for people who are otherwise socially isolated.”

She plans on volunteering for as long as she can. “Volunteering gives me a reason to get up in the morning,” says Anne. “It’s lovely to be purposeful and feel needed.”

If you are a kind person who would like to volunteer, please phone 13 93 75 and email [email protected].

Learn more about volunteering in 2024