The many faces of LinkAGE
If you imagine that most volunteers fit a particular mould, such as genteel retirees, think again!
Coming from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and age groups volunteers in the LinkAGE program run by the Mater Hospital, range in age from 28 to 87, were born in 20 different countries and, between them, speak 15 languages.
About half are still in the paid workforce, with diverse career paths. The LinkAGE volunteers include advertising executives, computer programmers, sales assistants, hairdressers, accountants, scientists and much more. Those who are retired are former doctors, nurses, librarians, teachers and university professors.
Others have led very full lives as wives and mothers. However, one thing they all have in common, the volunteers continue to contribute to the welfare of their local community.
Within the first three months of 2010, LinkAGE recruited 13 new volunteers and backgrounds of the new volunteers range from a young student to a retired solicitor. Working with LinkAGE the volunteers will be assigned to a nursing home, hostel or retirement village in their local area to visit an elderly person for an hour each week.
“The LinkAGE volunteer group is just one of the many groups of volunteers who serve St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are so many wonderful people out there, prepared to freely give up their time to make our community more caring” states Judith Ohana, LinkAGE Volunteer Manager.
LinkAGE is a community service program that provides trained volunteers to visit elderly, socially isolated residents in 50 aged care homes across Sydney. Volunteers receive ongoing training and support from two part-time program managers based at the Mater Hospital. Last year alone, LinkAGE volunteers provided over 4,000 hours of caring companionship.