Giving back to society is such a rewarding experience, as any volunteer will tell you. Volunteering with the elderly is especially fulfilling as those you help show so much gratitude towards the kind acts they receive.

For some elderly residents, social isolation is a sad reality they face every day – approximately 40 per cent of aged care residents reportedly get no visitors. But then there are people like Vic who make a world of difference to special group of older people.

Hamilton Hill resident Vic Leonard admits he loves to volunteer in the community and it’s fair to say he’s a West Australian who has made a huge difference to local seniors, something which is being recognized by Braemar Presbyterian Care on International Volunteer Day (5 December).

Mr Leonard volunteers each week at Braemar Cooinda in Willagee, where he worked as a carer starting in 2001.

He may have retired, but 17 years later says his time with Braemar gave him the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and, more importantly, allowed him to make a difference and bring happiness to people’s lives, which is why he continues to volunteer.

“I love being with people and caring for them and just love my voluntary work at Braemar where I cook a barbeque for the men’s group every Wednesday,” he says.

“Spending time with residents is something that I can do lots of given I’m retired and every other week I have one-on-one sessions with the residents who don’t have many visitors.

“It’s a wonderful thing just to have a cup of tea or spin a yarn and I genuinely enjoy their company.”

Braemar Presbyterian Care Chief Executive, Wayne Belcher (OAM), says Vic’s dedication to residents and families is exceptional and makes a real difference to the lives of Braemar’s residents.

“Friendship and strong relationships are so important to people’s lives. We know that having volunteers in Aged Care facilities makes a significant contribution to the quality of life of those in our care,” says Mr Belcher.

“Volunteers like Vic are so very important, as they can offer support and friendship to the elderly over long periods of time and really build meaningful connections. Vic is great role model for people volunteering in aged care, he is one of society’s unsung heroes and we thank him for his invaluable contribution.”

To acknowledge all of the Braemar volunteers, the provider is hosting a thank you luncheon aboard the cruise ship Astor on 15 December. The event will include a guided tour of the ship and a luxury lunch in the ship’s Waldorf dining room.

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