A GIFT OF LOVE: Volunteer Nita Caldwell devotes her spare time to residents at Milford Lodge. She is pictured with Patrick.
MARY-ANN TAYLOR, Lyn Bails along with Nita and Greg Caldwell all have one thing in common according to the residents of Ipswich’s Bolton Clarke Milford Grange Retirement Village.
The residents have labelled them as the unsung heroes of their village.
The four have been part of the volunteer team at the centre over the last three testing years.
Greg works in the garden two days a week and drives the bus, while Nita provides one on one support to the residents.
She says the community environment makes them feel like they are part of one big family.
“I just love it here. I do a lot on one-on-one visits and help with emotional support for the residents – talking about their lives gives me the greatest purpose,” Nita said.
“These people have taught, they’ve struggled, they’ve given their all and now they need to get something back. I believe it’s up to us, the community, and their families to do that for them.”
Having volunteered with the local Meals on Wheels for 26 years, fellow volunteer Mary-Ann doesn’t have far to travel – she is a resident in the co-located Milford Grange Retirement Village.
“I really enjoy interacting with the residents, some of whom lived in the Village before going into residential aged care,” she said.
“I like to give people someone different to help them with activities and have some fun – it makes their day better and gives them something different to do every day!”
Lyn agrees with Mary-Ann and says that the smiles she receives when stopping for chat, or when she drops off special goodies from the shopping trolley make such a difference.
“You can tell residents really appreciate what you’re doing. Their eyes light up and their smiles brighten your day,” she says.
Milford Grange Lifestyle Coordinator Katrina Hughes-Stampa says volunteers are worth their weight in gold to the community and the residents.
“Volunteers are able to form those beautiful, intimate connections with residents,” she said.
“When it comes to lifestyle, good volunteers help build those connections and help us support residents the way they need to be supported.”
Milford Grange is currently looking to expand its volunteer team and would love expressions of interest from the community.
There are a range of options available from one-on-one visits to arts and crafts, pet therapy, or any skills and interests that help residents keep doing things they enjoy.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering at Milford Grange, contact Lifestyle Coordinator Katrina on 0429 994 356.