Community connection is often one of the biggest reasons why people choose to volunteer, and stay, with Resthaven.
This is certainly the case with Resthaven Leabrook volunteer, Chris Cornwell. With a professional background in nursing and midwifery, Chris says that she ‘wanted to help in some small way.’
‘I began assisting the Lifestyle team with the resident activities, and the coordinator introduced me to individual residents who she thought would like a visit and a chat. Being someone who is always up for a chat myself, I just loved it.’
‘I have heard so many stories, which have given insight into times gone by. One resident used to work as a nurse and never married. She explained that as a child, she lived in Godfrey Terrace, one of the streets that borders Resthaven Leabrook, and rode her horse to school at the Presbyterian Girls College, now Seymour College. Apparently, there was a paddock at the back of the College for students’ horses!’
‘No matter who you are, no matter what you have done in your life, you have a story and every person’s story is interesting and indeed, to me, fascinating—I look forward to seeing them each week and hope they get as much out of our conversations as I do.’
Chris assists in many areas at Resthaven Leabrook, notably with residents living with dementia, where she has found the opportunity to create more connections with residents.
Fellow Resthaven Leabrook volunteer, and scientist, Janine McGowen, shares a similar sentiment to Chris.
Janine says, ‘I started almost four years ago, mainly to chat with residents!’
While Janine works through the week, she makes sure to find time each fortnight to visit and support the older people in her community—creating a few special connections along the way.
‘There is a group of wonderful ladies who sit in a dining room after lunch, and talk about anything from current affairs, their families, or Resthaven news. I enjoy joining in with them and hearing whatever is the topic of discussion.’
‘I find it very interesting to hear their perspective on life.’
‘I have heard some amazing stories of some of the residents’ lives. While we are sitting having a chat and a cup of tea together, I feel as if we are old friends catching up on all the news. I find the environment comfortable and uplifting.’
‘I feel privileged to spend time with all these amazing people and gain such an insight into their lives. I am sure I get just as much, or even more than they do, from our time spent together.’