News & Events

Deb’s the winner with bingo players

December 7, 2017

Deb Haley started volunteering at Braeside Park a year ago to fill in a spare day. She keeps coming back because she has grown fond of the residents and looks forward to the fortnightly catch-ups.


Every second Monday Deb calls bingo for the residents. But she comes early so that she has plenty of time for socialising before the game starts. Apart from enjoying the bingo calling, she enjoys being with the older women, having lost her own mother when she was very young.


“I love having the contact with the older ladies,” Deb said. “I show them photos of my grandson and keep the ladies updated on his progress. They love hearing about him and I love hearing about their families. I am proud of my family, especially my two daughters, so they hear all about them. We laugh a lot together too,” Deb said.


Deb, 55, from Narre Warren, is one of 180 volunteers who work across OCAV’s four villages. They provide support in areas of music, art, IT, outings, reading and general hospitality. Like all volunteers, Deb has developed friendships with residents and has learnt to cope when the residents move into care or die.


“Volunteering here is a reminder of the cycle of life. There is a lovely lady who used to come but now she is in care,” Deb said.  “It makes me think about the residents and how hard it must be for them when they have had a friend or partner for many years and then they are alone.”


“One of the other reasons I like coming to Braeside Park is that I will one day be an older person. I will be one of these people and it is nice to think someone will provide support and companionship in the future,” Deb said.


Fortunately, at Braeside Park, like all the OCAV villages, there’s a steady program of activities and outings offering residents companionship.


Deb, who works in bookkeeping two days a week, also volunteers each Friday with another organisation visiting an older lady in her home. Deb visits the woman, has a cuppa, chats to her and keeps her company for a couple of hours.


No doubt she values those hours as much as the ladies at Braeside Park!


Volunteer Coordinator Kim D’Angelis said volunteer visitors add to the quality of life for the resident by being a companion, confidante and friend.


“They can help the resident feel more involved with their community giving them a sense of connectedness and an increase in feelings of independence.  The visits aim to improve the resident’s self-esteem and well-being and reduce feelings of anxiety, isolation and loneliness.  Some residents don’t have regular contact with relatives or friends.,” she said.

"I love the fact that Rushall Park residents and volunteers are so active – contributing to life in the village. The sense of the community is strong which is why I put my name on the waiting list" - Maggie Birkett.

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