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Honour for long-serving aged care volunteer

For his support of aged care and disability services, John Dennis was recognised in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday honours, along with others supporting aged care and dementia care.

Three days a week, for the past 15 years, John Dennis has been visiting local aged care and disability support services where he assists with their activities programs.

On Monday, Mr Dennis’s years of volunteering were recognised when he was awarded an OAM in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours list.

“It’s a two way street; you provide enjoyment for the people you visit but you also meet lovely people, the nice staff at these places. It’s most rewarding,” Mr Dennis told Australian Ageing Agenda yesterday.

Since 2001, Mr Dennis has been volunteering at RSL Care South Australia’s War Veterans Home at Myrtle Bank while also visiting its Lower Kapyong Memory Support Unit.

During that time he has also been volunteering at the Broughton Art Society, which runs an arts and craft program for people with a disability.

“I had recently retired and I wanted something to do to occupy my mind,” said Mr Dennis of his decision to start volunteering in 2001. “I had had a life in the mining industry, and I wanted to do something a bit different.”

In addition, through Mr Dennis’s involvement in the Unley Community Visitors Scheme he has been visiting a resident, one-on-one, at the War Veterans Home.

“I have developed friendships there,” he said of his volunteering. “You meet other volunteers and nice people besides the people you’re helping to care for and entertain.”

Other honours recipients who were recognised for their contributions to the sector this year include:

  • Christine Bryden (Queensland) for her support for people with Alzheimers and other dementias and as a leading advocate and author.
  • Thomas Chapman (South Australia) for service to the community through leading roles with a range of groups in aged care, education and youth.
  • Kathleen Johnston (Victoria) for philanthropic support of medical research, aged care, social welfare and charitable groups.
  • Peter Inge (Victoria) for service to the community and to aged care.
  • Allan Lorraine (Victoria) for service to the community, particularly aged care.

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