Kathryn Munro is the familiar and friendly voice at the other end of the phone line for a number of AnglicareSA’s Community Aged Care Customers.
A retired teacher who also spent some time working in aged care, Kathryn is part of the Volunteer Phone Support Program working with AnglicareSA customers to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation through regular weekly phone calls.
“The calls can be two minutes, five minutes, 25, I even had one that was 50 minutes,” Kathryn smiles.
“It’s just a general conversation where I start by asking how the week has been and then I take my cues from there as to what they want to talk about.
“One lady has her pet dog who’s very important to her and we talk about him, others want to talk about their family, but they know they can be up-front, and I can talk about anything they want to, anything at all.”
The calls, made from AnglicareSA’s Oaklands Park office each Thursday, are an important human connection for customers who are receiving other Community Aged Care supports in their own home.
For Kathryn it has been fulfilling to be “part of something wonderful” supporting others and helping improve quality of life by being there and by being someone they know they will regularly hear from.
“I found AnglicareSA online and looked into the organisation to see what they do and their values, and I thought ‘yes, I’d like to be a part of that organisation’.
“I like to talk; I’ve had a number of roles jobs working with people and that’s what I like best to do.
“It’s a very rewarding role. I often receive encouragement from the customers telling me how much these opportunities to talk are needed and I always get a warm ‘Thank you’ at the end of every phone call.”
It’s not just the critically important phone calls to support customers that Kathryn has committed her time to, she also spends one of her two days per week supporting AnglicareSA with admin and has recently become involved in making phone calls as part a customer satisfaction survey.
Each year, more than 300 AnglicareSA volunteers support a wide range of services that include spending time with aged care residents, packing food and clothing parcels for those in need, mentoring kids who’ve lost a loved one, and delivering new clothing to jobseekers for their job interviews.
AnglicareSA is always looking for new volunteers, particularly allied health students and older, time-rich South Australians as we try to keep up with growing demand across our aged care and emergency assistance services.
Our volunteers meet some great people, learn new skills, and often find that giving back to the community returns them the favour of lifelong friendships, social connection and a well-developed CV.