Volunteering in Aged Care
One of the major problems expressed by some residents in Aged Care, is that the nursing staff does not have enough time to spend with them. We are all social creatures, and despite many facilities having quite considerable activities programs, some residents still feel lonely.
One of those interviewed on the Four Corners stories, asked a registered nurse, “can you just stay 10 more minutes?” This is not a big ask in the big picture, but the reality of life in Aged Care is ALL the nurses have too much work to do to spend time chatting. That does not mean they don’t want to, the fact is, they just do not have the time. There are simply not enough nurses to go around, and even then, they are busy dealing with the multitude of tasks, duties and requests they are asked to perform.
The media LOVE to demonize the Aged Care Industry. It has been my experience with aged care, that I have seen far more good than bad. It is true it is not perfect, but what is?
An assistant in nursing in my mother in laws nursing home stayed with her for 3 hours after her shift had finished, sitting there and watching TV with her until I got there after work, because she “just seemed a bit flat” that day. She could have gone home, she wasn’t being paid, this is the dedication, commitment and quality of the people who work in the Aged Care System.
Do we have to use qualified nurses to provide social interaction?
Can some of these tasks be performed by volunteers?
There must be hundreds or thousands of people in the community who could give up a morning or afternoon a week, a fortnight, or even a year. People who could play a game of scrabble or cards, talk about a movie or a book, share a recipe or life experiences or just have a coffee and a chat about “the good old days” or a stroll down memory lane.
If you have some spare time that you could contribute, why not contact your local Aged Care Facility and see if they have a volunteer program, you could just make someone’s day and you get a great deal of personal reward and satisfaction.
Arcare have just started a volunteer program. They have two facilities in Sydney, one on the central coast, and a new one to open in Warriewood later this year. Have a look on their website for details www.arcare.com.au (in the contact area for volunteering enquiries.) There may be limitations as to what you are able to do, and a police check may be required, but I am sure that any help would be greatly appreciated.