A chance encounter at a fete at our Parafield Gardens home was the start of an amazing journey as volunteers for Jan and Alan.
Both had been thinking about volunteering at the residential care home and asked a staff member if they were any opportunities available. The quick-thinking staff member wasted no time, running off to find an application form and signing them up on the spot!
That was 14 years ago – and since then, Jan and Alan have been volunteering at Parafield Gardens once a week. Along the way they have developed friendships and connections with residents, family members, fellow volunteers and staff. Like most Helping Hand volunteers, Jan and Alan thrive on meeting new people, learning new skills and helping others.
“You get really fond of the residents and they move on eventually, but then you get to make new relationships. It’s the satisfaction of helping and interacting with the residents and building friendships with people and their families. You are also working with a team of volunteers and it becomes a social thing”, say Jan and Alan.
“There’s an element of trust that the residents have with you and they sometimes ask us to help with all types of personal things. Some of them don’t get many visitors and you need to spend time with them and make them feel special – which of course they are.”
After many years of volunteering, Jan and Alan are leaving Parafield Gardens to spend more time looking after their grandkids.
“We will miss the residents and volunteers the most, it has been very fulfilling. We have also loved working with the staff, they have always encouraged the volunteers and made them feel very special. We think it is important to volunteer and would really like people to consider it”, they added.
So, what’s their secret to volunteering? The response is simple:
- come in with an open mind
- be mindful of others and remember that this is their home
- show respect and confidentiality when people share information and memories.
Helping Hand would like to extend its appreciation to Jan and Alan for their time, care and contribution to the wellbeing of residents and their families at Parafield Gardens.
Click here for more information on volunteering opportunities at Helping Hand or call us on 1300 653 600
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