Over 50s Lifestyle

National Volunteers Week 2018 – Give a little Change a lot

May 14, 2018
National Volunteers Week

National Volunteers Week 2018 commences 21st May until the 27th, although volunteering is not something that needs to just happen for one week a year.  The theme of this year’s National Volunteers Week in Australia, is ‘Give a little, Change a lot’.

A Volunteer is “a person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it.”

Since my Mother-in-Law moved to her aged care home, I have been regularly volunteering.  I don’t volunteer every week but help with the outings and special events such as the annual fete, cocktail parties and Christmas Party.

I have found that it is such a rewarding experiencing for both the residents and myself.  They now know me by name and always say hello when I visit.

I have accompanied them on various outings and helped in preparing for or at events including:

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Mao’s Last Dancer Exhibition at the Brisbane Museum

A City Cat ride along the Brisbane River, followed by morning tea

National Volunteering Week 2018

There are many ways that we can give of our time, and of course, you need to find something that you enjoy and is a good fit for you. You may also need to have police checks or similar if you want to work with children or in aged care. Volunteering with an organization will have conditions that you need to comply with.

Volunteering  doesn’t have to be for an organization and it doesn’t have to be grand gestures or every day.  You can give your time to family and friends.

  • Perhaps you have an elderly neighbour that you could do some shopping for.
  • Offer to mind the grandchildren
  • Cook some meals for a new Mum or someone who might have lost a partner or coping with an illness
  • Treat a friend to a coffee

Volunteering can sometimes make us feel like we have to be there all the time.

I felt that when I first started volunteering at Marycrest. However, the staff assured me that they were grateful for any time I could give.  I opted to help with the major events rather than being tied to a definite time each week.  I needed the flexibility so I’m much more comfortable now, knowing that I’m helping others but not finding it a chore or a drag.

National Volunteers Week 2018

Do you volunteer?  I’d love you to share your experience with us and leave a comment below.

What is one way you can help others and give back?

 

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30 Comments

  • Reply Karen Hume May 14, 2018 at 05:25

    I don’t volunteer yet, Sue, but I can see the day coming in the not too distant future. I’ve been avoiding volunteer work for the reason you mentioned. I’ve been commitment phobic ever since retiring, partly for fear that I would turn any volunteer work into a full time plus job!

    However, lately, I’ve been thinking about volunteering for hospice care. I’d like to help people in their last days, and I’d like to get to a point where I am more comfortable with death. We’ll be having a hospice centre built in our area for the first time ever and I’d love to be involved from the early days of that.

    I’m not ready yet to check into the possibilities, but your post and your experiences are a good reminder. An aunt in Scotland won national awards for massive volunteer work for more than fifty years. I believe that anyone who volunteers is a special person.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 14, 2018 at 06:40

      Hi Karen, I agree that sometimes if you make a regular commitment you can feel trappped. It is for that reason that I just volunteer for outings or special events. I’m still helping but it isn’t as rigid as weekly volunteering. I have mixed feelings on volunteering at a hospice. I feel I could provide the compassion but I also feel it would affect me when the person is no longer there, I can form attachments rather quickly. I also agree that you need to be a special kind of person to give of your time and it isn’t for everyone. We can all give back in our own way. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by xx

  • Reply Karen Hume May 14, 2018 at 11:13

    Hi Sue,
    Thanks for your reply. I know what you mean about the hospice volunteering. It’s probably why I’m still hesitating a bit. It might be that volunteering for special events as you are doing would be more my speed. I’m not sure yet.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 14, 2018 at 12:17

      Hi Karen, yes I think I have found a good balance because it can be a commitment that after a while becomes a chore. Your blog is helping other women so in a way you are volunteering already! Have a lovely week xx

  • Reply leannelc May 14, 2018 at 16:31

    I love seeing your MIL looking so happy Sue – the care facility has certainly given her a new lease on life – and provided you with an outlet to serve others and still have fun. It sounds like you’ve found the perfect way to make mother and DIL time work well for both of you xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 15, 2018 at 06:30

      She has done a complete turn around Leanne and is so happy. Yes it is a good way to have some time together and enjoying new experiences.

  • Reply Shirley Corder May 14, 2018 at 18:33

    Loved this post and its encouragement to get involved in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. Thanks, Sue. Is it true that Variety is the Spice of Life?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 15, 2018 at 06:33

      Hi Shirley it really doesn’t take much. You can be a volunteer in an organised way or you can just give your time to friends or family who might need some cheering up. Have a great week!

  • Reply Candi Randolph May 15, 2018 at 00:37

    I do not volunteer at this point in my life, but I know the time will come when I’ll have the availability to do so. There are so many ways to volunteer, as you pointed out. It doesn’t have to be a formal type of arrangement. Sometimes the simple assistance we can give a friend or neighbor is the most meaningful.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 15, 2018 at 06:37

      Hi Candi, I like the pattern I’ve developed when I’m not tied in every week but a couple of times a month. You are also correct that it can be an informal arrangement and helping family and friends can be just as rewarding xx

  • Reply sizzlesue15 May 15, 2018 at 05:43

    It is a great combination of volunteering but also having flexibility.

  • Reply Musings, Rants & Scribbles May 15, 2018 at 05:45

    Sue, I’m looking for a good volunteering gig here in the states. Thanks for the reminder! You look like you do a lot for your MIL. So nice.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 15, 2018 at 06:39

      Hi Laurie, some people get very involved but I for me the flexibility of helping with outings or special events suits my lifestyle at the moment. Yes, I don’t have a Mum now so our efforts go into making my MIL happy. Have a great day! xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris May 16, 2018 at 03:38

    This is so important to do Sue, volunteering is good for everyone involved and I’m sure the nursing home appreciates your time. I enjoy my Rotary volunteering and feel I have something to offer the community. Lovely post celebrating volunteers everywhere.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2018 at 13:24

      It doesn’t take much to give back does it, Deb? But, it is so rewarding. The aged care home are having a morning tea to celebrate their volunteers next week. x

      • Reply Debbie Harris May 17, 2018 at 07:39

        That’s lovely to read Sue, they couldn’t manage without volunteers in many areas now Sue so a morning tea is a lovely way to say thank you.

        • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 07:53

          Volunteers are scare Deb because everyone is so busy these days. I think Marycrest just appreciate any help they can get. It is nice to feel appreciated even though we don’t volunteer for thanks. Enjoy your day, Deb! xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections May 16, 2018 at 04:01

    Hi, Sue – Thank you for highlighting this important issue. I agree that volunteering allows us to give a little and make a BIG difference (especially to ourselves). Before I began volunteering in retirement, I worried about making too big and too scheduled of a commitment. I volunteer for our local SPCA and for our Newcomer’s Association. Both organizations have been incredibly flexible. Like your MILs care home, I believe that most places that are looking for volunteers are very happy for quality help vs quantity of help. Another great post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2018 at 13:23

      Hi Donna! When I first approached volunteering I was all enthusiastic to participate several times a week. Then I took a step back into reality and realised that I visit my MIL 2-3 times a week so volunteering on top of that would be a huge chunk out of my week. I love the compromise and as you said the Aged Care Home are happy just to have volunteers for any amount of time or event. I love the idea of the Newcomer’s Association. You have really settled into Vancouver Island life haven’t you. Have a great week, Donna xx

  • Reply Natalie May 16, 2018 at 11:35

    Looks like you’ve found a great balance that works for you and your MIL, Sue. I used to volunteer at one of the local hospitals. Now I’m mentoring a few younger people who are still working and want to advance in their careers.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2018 at 13:11

      Hi Natalie. Yes I like the flexibility rather than feeling pressured to attend every week as I visit my MIL 2 or 3 times each week. Working with younger people and helping them advance their careers is a wonderful way to give back. Have a beautiful week, Natalie xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones May 16, 2018 at 14:02

    Thanks for pointing out that next week is volunteer week. I hadn’t realised. I think the way you have decided to volunteer at your MILs nursing home is ideal. I’m very involved with volunteering in the community but am planning to scale back just a little next year to make it more manageable.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2018 at 15:25

      Volunteering can take over Jen that is why I decided to make it flexible. I already visit my MIL 2 – 3 times a week so volunteering on top of that each week would be a big ask. I’m enjoying it and probably because it doesn’t feel like a weekly chore. Glad to see your computer is back up and going! xx

  • Reply AJ Blythe May 17, 2018 at 09:22

    I’ve been volunteering for 30 years – to be honest, I’m looking forward to the day when I stop. I’m telling myself it will be my 50th b’day present to myself, but I’m not sure if after (by then) 35 years of volunteering I’ll be able to!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2018 at 15:23

      Wow 30 years is a long time and a wonderful commitment, Anita. What type of volunteering do you do?

  • Reply AJ Blythe May 17, 2018 at 17:45

    I’ve done all sorts of things…assistant cub leader, wildlife carer, P&C, scouts, basketball coach, animal research (a lot at Boondall and Tinchi Tamba wetlands), many different roles for a national writing organisation (the list kinda goes on but you get the idea).

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2018 at 05:58

      Wow Anita you have done it all! I can see how you are probably a little over volunteering but you have given so much back to the community which is commendable. Have a great weekend! xx

  • Reply Rebecca Olkowski (@baby_boomster) May 21, 2018 at 01:13

    I have belonged to a group of Women called Sweet Charities and we have helped small charities in our community. I’ve also recently volunteered as a fortune teller for an organization that helps disadvantaged kids. I agree, it’s very fulfilling.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 21, 2018 at 08:15

      I love the name of that Charity Rebecca and I bet the kids really enjoyed your fortune telling. It would have been something so different for them. Have a beautiful week and thanks for stopping by x

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