Volunteering gives Pat purpose

You don’t need to school Pat Hanegraaf on the benefits of volunteering.

The Shanagolden Retirement Village resident wasted no time signing up for a volunteer role at the co-located aged care community a few months after she moved in.

That was five years ago, and since then, Pat has become a regular, friendly face at the residence; delivering Holy Communion to those unable to get to Mass, and forming some firm friendships.

Pat credits living at Shanagolden, and volunteering, with helping her through one
of the toughest times of her life.

Two years after they moved to Shanagolden from their Pakenham home, Pat’s husband
Eric passed away.

“Since Eric’s gone it’s just so good having people around. I’ve got four boys but they’re busy with their own families so it’s nice to know everyone here and everyone is so friendly – they’re all willing to help you.”

Pat may be generous with her own time, but believes she is the one to truly benefit
from volunteering.

“You get very close and attached to the residents – they’re beautiful. Volunteering is definitely a good activity in retirement. I just enjoy it, I love the interaction, there’s a lot of lovely people there.”

Recently, VMCH Fundraising and Volunteering teams visited Shanagolden to host a ‘Get Involved Morning Tea’ sharing photos and stories from across the organisation on the ways people can be involved including through op shops, fundraising events, donating, volunteering, or even helping to make Christmas hampers.

VMCH Grants and Bequest Officer Sandra Rosano said feedback from the event, held at various VMCH retirement communities, has been positive.

“Many residents are volunteers for a number of organisations and didn’t know they could
also volunteer with VMCH and engage in our community.”

If you are interested in volunteering with VMCH, please call 1800 036 377.

Five reasons to volunteer during retirement

1: Helps bridge generation gap.

By interacting with younger generations, seniors are able to share important life lessons. On the flip side, younger generations are able to teach seniors new ways of looking at life.

2: Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time.

Giving others your time can make your time feel more affluent. A study done at Wharton College found that people who give their time felt more capable, confident and useful.

3: It’s good for mental health.

Volunteering keeps the brain active, which contributes to a person’s cognitive health.

4: Helps prevent senior isolation and depression.

While getting out of the house is important at any age, research has found that volunteering can have positive effects on a person’s psychological health.

5: It promotes physical activity.

Maintaining a healthy level of fitness helps fend off diseases as you age.

Source: www.seniorcommunity.org