Elder Rights Advocacy promotes the human rights of all older people, and works with, and for, older people and their representatives, educating the community, advocating for and empowering older people to achieve the support they want.
Meet Amity (pictured with her horse Iggy) and learn more about being a volunteer.
I live with my partner Geoff and our menagerie of animals (dogs, horses, sheep).
What is/was your career?
I am a Communications Specialist in the healthcare sector, as well as running my own freelance proofreading and editing business.
Have you been a volunteer before?
Yes. I love volunteering when I can fit it in. I have previously volunteered as a community radio announcer, as the editor of my town’s newsletter and at my local parkrun.
Why did you decide that Elder Rights Advocacy was the right fit for you?
I don’t have grandparents who are alive anymore and I miss the unique and rewarding relationships that come from connecting with older people. I also wanted to contribute towards helping older people feel less isolated, even if it is one person at a time!
How long have you been an Elder Rights Advocacy volunteer?
Since July 2020.
Tell me about your Elder Rights Advocacy volunteering journey
Due to COVID, my first match Robert and I only communicated over the phone but it quickly became the highlight of my week, until he died in December that year. That was a sad time and it took me a while to feel ready to meet my next match (I also took time off from volunteering while our dog was having chemo treatment). My current match Nancy and I have been spending time together since February 2022.
What do you get out of your volunteer role?
It brings a feeling of purpose to my life and has provided an invaluable opportunity to learn, particularly about growing up and life during a different time. I thoroughly enjoy every minute that I spend in this role, particularly with Nancy. She has gone through many challenges in life, but still manages to find things to smile and laugh about. Hearing her laugh is one of the most joyous experiences!
Why do you think volunteering is so important?
It is very rewarding and can bring so much positivity to your life for such a small commitment. We all have some spare time and it would be great to see more people volunteering, particularly in the CVS. There are so many older people who are experiencing loneliness and don’t have a social network. Even one visit a fortnight can bring someone happiness and give them something to look forward to, as well as someone to share their worries with. All you have to do is listen.
For those who are thinking about volunteering, what are three things they need to think about?
How much of a commitment can you make; there are many volunteering opportunities available, so pick one that makes you excited and that you’ll look forward to; and how will this role fit in with your other commitments in your lifestyle?
Meet Fran and Maggie
What’s the funniest moment you’ve shared together?
Fran: There have been many funny moments. Margaret and I mainly laugh about the silly things we do. We often tease each other, which makes both of us laugh.
Maggie: We have so many laughs, I can’t remember one in particular.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Fran: When you talk, you are only repeating what you know, but when you listen you may learn.
Maggie: Advice to the elderly – ‘Ask God to keep his arm around your shoulder and his hand over your mouth’.
Why are the visits/calls important to you?
Fran: The visits are important to me because I enjoy the easy chats we have. It is nice to make another person smile.
Maggie: Fran is such a lovely lady and it’s a pleasure spending time with her.
What will you remember most about the visits?
Fran: I think I will remember the things we have in common, but it is also good to hear another point of view if there are any different views we have.
Maggie: We always ‘fix’ the troubles of the world. The conversation and friendship I treasure.