She may jokingly describe herself as part of the furniture at AnglicareSA’s Trott Park residential aged care site, but Helen Bell, alongside her fellow volunteers, truly does form part of the fabric that makes the home such a special place.
It was in 2012 that Helen first came to Trott Park when her husband Graham moved in as a resident due to health reasons – and she became a daily visitor until his passing in 2015.
“I was with him here every day, all day, and before he passed away somebody said, ‘you’re here all the time anyway, why don’t you become a volunteer?’,” Helen recalls.
“I thought ‘oh, what a great idea’ and have been volunteering now for the last nine years.”
Assisting staff with daily routines and activities with the residents, Helen and the rest of the volunteer team play an important role in the running of the site and care of residents.
But it’s not just about the everyday life – adding a touch of flamboyance and dressing up for special occasions is something she has become quite renown for.
“Every big event that we have like Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Harmony Day, you name it and I just have to dress up.
“The residents love it – especially if it’s a comical one – they love it and my notion is if I can put a smile on someone’s face, or make them laugh, then I can leave knowing I’ve done some good.”
Being a part of supporting the health and wellbeing of residents is a source of great pride for Helen and other AnglicareSA volunteers – their input making the world of difference whether it be for a few hours or a full day.
And she’s calling on anyone who may have given some thought to volunteering within aged care to give it a go.
“If you have got a just few hours, half a day, or a day or two spare, I’d say come and try it and get involved with what we do.
“There’s no way you’d go away and say ‘oh, I don’t want to do that’ – you just wouldn’t.
“I come every day because I live on my own now and it gives me something to do that I enjoy.
“That’s the main thing – I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it.”
To learn more about volunteering for AnglicareSA, click here.