Volunteers are vital in our Aged Care facilities

August 12, 2019

In Australia, roughly 229,000 elderly Australians entered aged care facilities between 2017 and 2018, and there are over 2,000 aged care facilities all over the country. While they have their own dedicated staff, volunteers are often vital for the success of these facilities and the health of the residents. We’re going to outline four reasons why volunteers are important and what CatholicCare is doing to help .

Studies show that there are roughly 6.1 million volunteers for aged care facilities throughout Australia. Around 36.2% of Australians over 18 have performed volunteer work with the aged care sectors, and they provide invaluable assistance.

1. Volunteers can prevent senior isolation 
Almost 26% of the senior community reports being alone, lonely or isolated. This percentage goes up as the population gets older. Having volunteers in  aged care facilities gives seniors more time to spend talking and interacting with people from the community. Seniors who have more frequent social interactions are generally healthier and more content, both physically and mentally.

2. Volunteers improve inter-generational relationships
Many young Australians volunteer because they have a passion for helping people and connecting to people across all ages and socioeconomic classes. Many of our volunteers learn alot from our friends in aged care facilities, and the seniors enjoy a more in-depth understanding of young people.

3. Volunteers keep seniors more active 
No matter if it’s just getting up and going to a walk it keeps seniors active. Since reports show that only 1 in 10 Australians over 50 get enough exercise to benefit their heart health, volunteers are essential in ensuring residents stay active and healthy.

4. Volunteers can help improve seniors’ mental health 
Depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation are common problems that can negatively impact a person’s mental health state. Bringing volunteers in to interact with the residents at aged care facilities can help alleviate some of these problems. Even weekly interaction can help with mental health.

We have our own wonderful volunteer initiative called the Community Visitors Scheme. It’s a low-stress way to volunteer an hour of your time every fortnight. The goal is to connect volunteers with people in aged care facilities or hostels who don’t have family close by to visit on a routine basis.

Our volunteers can meet with participants, share a cuppa, and take time to talk and form lasting friendships. Our participants look forward to the visits each fortnight! In the past year, we had over 50 volunteers that visited 75 elderly citizens across Australia. This year, we hope to increase these numbers and reach even more of Australia’s elderly. All you need do is reach out and contact us, and we’ll coordinate the rest. Maybe you want to play a game of chess with someone, or you simply want to sit and have a chat. Either way, CatholicCare would love your help.

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