The gift of time
For Denise Bunn, Bupa Aged Care in Runaway Bay is like her second home.
The 60-year-old volunteer lives two doors down and spends at least three days a week at the home helping residents.
“I really enjoy it,” says Denise. “I lost my parents and grandparents early and I felt I could contribute my talents.”
Denise’s many talents come in handy at the home. She lends a hand with everything from arts and craft to bingo and happy hour. She reads to vision impaired residents and also lends a hand with ironing and sorting lost property.
But her most important and rewarding contribution is just being with the residents.
“Spending time with residents is very important, they don’t always have relatives to visit them so I try to fill that gap and spend a bit of time with them.”
“I have a rapport with elderly people, I’m a patient person and I like to sit down and talk to them,” she says. “The residents really look forward to visits from Denise.
“There are a couple of residents who have taken a bit of a shining to me,” says Denise. “I get lots of big hugs and little kisses on the cheek (from residents) and when I do something for them they always say thank you and show their appreciation.”
Bupa Aged Care, Runaway Bay opened in September 2014, and Denise started volunteering soon after. She was recently recognised by the home for her first year of service to the home.
Lifestyle coordinator Sue Reardon says Denise’s contribution is invaluable.
“She’s very pleasant, she’s very good with the residents and they admire her,” says Sue. “She loves it, she knows when the activities are on and she just turns up and gives her time.”
Denise says while helping others is important to her, volunteering has also helped her.
“I find it very meaningful,” says Denise. “I just want to go over there all the time and talk to them and do whatever I can.”
If you’re interested in volunteering Denise suggests finding something you love that is in your local area.
Aged Care homes generally prefer to have volunteers who are able to come in regularly, like Denise, so residents can get to know their visitors.
“If someone can make someone else’s day a little bit brighter, that’s a wonderful thing to do,” says Sue.