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Meet the people volunteering in aged care

Kerrie Reid is sharing her love of music with residents

Musician Kerry Reid has been a regular performer at South Australian folk festivals for many years, but these days you’ll find her at ACH Group’s McLaren Vale centre sharing her love of music with residents.

“Volunteering is about getting out and meeting people, making new friends and retaining that sense of self-worth, without the pressure of a paid job,” says Ms Reid.

Ms Reid, who is taking some time out from the workforce this year, is running the Music for Fun group, part of ACH Group’s Social Links Program.

Ms Reid turned to volunteering to keep busy after her mother passed away.

“When you feel that you are part of something and that you are appreciated, it’s very worthwhile – it gives you something to look forward to,” she said.

Ms Reid said she plans to introduce monthly themes and encourage people to play a range of instruments.

“A few are going to bring their ukuleles and we’re putting together a song book with all our favourites,” she said.

“Some people like to sing along, others might just clap – it’s about enjoying the music and having fun.”

‘Help out wherever I could’ 

For the past 12 months Wayne Hughes has been a familiar face at Ave Maria Village, an aged care facility in Shepparton, north of Victoria.

On a weekly basis Mr Hughes can spend up to 30 hours at the facility performing various activities – from running men’s gatherings and indoor bowl competitions to assisting with outings such as bus trips for residents.

Wayne Huges running a computer class

“I am here about three or four days a week, sometimes five,” said Mr Hughes. “I started volunteering at the home when my mum moved in a year ago. I figured that since I was already visiting my mum here, I might as well help out wherever I could.”

One of the most popular programs at the facility is the support group Mr Hughes initiated to encourage residents to learn how to use a tablet computer to access the internet.

Jan Christenson, the centre’s lifestyle coordinator, said Mr Hughes had “opened up a whole new world of technology” for the residents.

“He showed them how tablets can be fun and easy to use,” said Ms Christenson. “Now, we have many of residents who have their own tablets and are learning to email and Skype with their family members. It is simply amazing.”

National Volunteer Week runs from 8-14 May.

Related AAA coverage: Aged care providers say thanks to volunteers 

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