Volunteers are the backbone of the aged care sector, and more are needed
Tens of thousands of people, of all ages, such as 90-year-old Lily Burns and 20-year-old Charlise Hannagan, volunteer in aged care homes.
The Change Makers is the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, 15 to 21st May, which celebrates the vital work of volunteers.
Volunteering is at the core of the aged care sector. Many businesses in the sector were created by volunteers. Staff time is shared amongst the clinical needs of residents, whereas a volunteer is there purely to spend quality time with residents. It’s not just the residents who reap the benefits of the volunteer experience – the volunteers themselves gain a deep sense of purpose and fulfilment from their role.
HammondCare, where Lily and Charlise volunteer, has about 750 volunteers in total and is looking for more people willing to give one to two hours a week for 12 months or longer in the community, in aged care homes or hospitals.
In November 2020, the Age Care Census 2020 stated there were 11,980 volunteers in residential aged care (a decline of 49% from 2016). They act as companions, and help with transportation.
Gail Yap, Uniting NSW.ACT Volunteer Lead, People and Culture, takes care of 11,000 volunteers.
“Today, volunteers make up 15% of our workforce, performing over 50 different roles, across 100 teams,” said Gail Yap, Uniting NSW.ACT Volunteer Lead, People and Culture.
“They contribute their time, energy and experiences, to help us connect people and communities, across generations and cultures.
“Uniting needs more volunteers as our community is growing. Our population is ageing and diversifying, and we need to keep up.”