Meet Bob. He’s a keen footy fan, an experienced scuba diver, and a retired banker.
While he jokes that if he gets any busier he will need a personal assistant, Bob volunteers his time every Thursday at our Grange residential aged care site running the Men’s Shed.
The Men’s Shed gives residents the opportunity to help craft items such as mosaics, birdhouses, and money boxes, or try their hand at painting.
“We will have brainstorming sessions where we all sit down and find little things that we can make that are within our skill sets,” Bob said. “It’s just a matter of having a go.”
Bob started the Men’s Shed four years ago as a way to spend time with his late father, who was a resident at the site.
“It started because I wanted to do something with my father. It was payback time, after everything my parents did for me, it was the least I could do.”
However, the group developed into more than just volunteering for Bob – it’s mateship – which is why he kept the group going, even after his father’s passing two years ago.
“It’s a sort of comradeship that we’ve developed over the years,” Bob said. “I feel as though having done it now for about four years, if I didn’t come, I’d be letting my mates down.”
Whether it’s a conversation about boats, a passionate discussion about footy or having a laugh, the group gives residents an opportunity to connect with others and make friends.
“Some days we sit there, and we hardly achieve anything but just talk. It’s something different for them and gets them out of their rooms.”
Bob might downplay his contribution to the health and wellbeing of the residents he calls mates, but the results are obvious.
Some residents experience health issues that can be challenging and isolating, but seeing Bob every week keeps them positive.
The playful jokes at each other’s expense, a good laugh, or just a simple ‘How are you going?’ are common themes in conversations with Bob, leaving residents with a smile that is palpable and infectious.
A firm believer in social connection and that learning from others can make a world of difference — Bob encourages everyone to give volunteering within aged care a go.
“I think it’s an opportunity to be involved with people, creating connections through activity that doesn’t cost me much other than a couple of hours once a week.
“If everyone in society showed a bit more interest in caring for other people the world would be a better place.”
At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people in need. Volunteers are an integral part of our support services — their generosity and commitment enable us to deliver a broad range of services to the South Australian community.