The Senior

Volunteering your skills can go both ways

 Penny Jeffrey says the benefit of volunteering skills goes both ways. Picture supplied
Penny Jeffrey says the benefit of volunteering skills goes both ways. Picture supplied

Branded content for BlueCare.

Volunteers have been part of BlueCare since the very beginning over 70 years ago and they have been making outstanding contributions ever since.

BlueCare Group Executive Aged Care and Community Services Cathy Thomas shares volunteers play a crucial role in BlueCare's circle of care - enhancing the wellbeing and quality of life of every resident.

"Every day they dedicate their time to support our residents and clients' social and emotional well-being and enable them to live life in all its fullness," Cathy says.

"Over the years, our volunteers helped create the BlueCare we know today, raising the money to hire nurses, buy the buildings, buy equipment, and generally create a service the community desperately needed."

For seniors in retirement, volunteering can provide numerous benefits for organisations along with key benefits for the individual who is volunteering.

Benefits include:

  • Staying active and engaged
  • Giving back
  • Learning new skills
  • Building social connections
  • Improving mental and physical health
Seniors have a wealth of experience, skills and knowledge that can be invaluable to community organisations. Picture Shutterstock
Seniors have a wealth of experience, skills and knowledge that can be invaluable to community organisations. Picture Shutterstock

Seniors have a wealth of experience, skills and knowledge that can be invaluable to community organisations.

Penny Jeffrey is a resident at Azure Blue Redcliffe retirement village, a BlueCare community.

After a long career with the Bank of Queensland, Ms Jeffrey retired last year and moved into her new home at Azure Blue Redcliffe.

With 55 years of banking experience, Ms Jeffrey has a huge range of skills she can draw on and she has been using her wealth of knowledge in a variety of ways.

She is passionate about supporting women's financial security and has been actively involved in helping her community since she retired.

"I'm full-on about superannuation. We (women) have been that badly done by - there's so many women who should be better off," Ms Jeffrey said.

As she settled in at Azure Blue retirement village, she reached out to support others who needed help as they moved into a new phase with their finances.

"I get people asking for help with different things, she said.

"I had a lady ring me with a super problem. In my time in banking I was on the board at the Bank of Queensland superannuation fund. I was able to assist her, and tell her who to call and what to ask to fix her problem."

As more people find out about her experience and willingness to help, Ms Jeffrey has been able to advise others in a range of challenging situations.

Volunteer your skills now and reap the rewards for you and others. Picture Shutterstock
Volunteer your skills now and reap the rewards for you and others. Picture Shutterstock

She feels valued applying the skills she has built up over a lifetime of work.

"It was rewarding to help. I've never been educated. But everything I've learnt I can use to help people. It's been amazing," she said.

Ms Jeffrey is one of 4.1 million retirees in Australia, many of whom have valuable skills they have developed throughout their lives and can adapt in new ways.

"There's a lot of value in older people," she said, adding that the benefit of volunteering your skills goes both ways.

"It's important to use your skills to do different things and help people. Keeping busy is a good way to keep well when you're older."

If you would like to volunteer at BlueCare, and change lives, yours included, visit the BlueCare Volunteer page. BlueCare is proudly part of the UnitingCare family. You can read more volunteer stories in UnitingCare's Volunteer Impact Report.