Volunteering brings rewards

A Yass volunteer has been recognised for her incredible service to the aged care community.

Helen Gray-Schiera puts in nine-hour days at Gwen Warmington Lodge just to brighten the day of some of the residents.

“She helps me immensely,” Janice Puckett who works at the lodge, and nominated Helen for the award, said.

Helen won the Volunteer of the Year award in the 2012 National Volunteer Awards, announced late last year.

She first started going to Gwen Warmington Lodge to read to her friend Joyce, and her contribution snowballed from there.

The retired registered nurse does a lot of work providing care and social support at the lodge, as well as out in the community.

“She helps me with outings three mornings a week,” Janice said.

The pair take the residents shopping and help them get around town.

Although Helen said it wasn’t just the residents that benefited, she said she enjoyed it too.

“It’s wonderful, it’s very fulfilling.

“It’s helped me to overcome the death of my mother,” Ms Gray-Schiera said.

She was caring for her elderly mother at home until her death last year. Now Helen is a mainstay at the lodge.

“It’s rewarding to see how grateful the residents are to have company,” she said.

The volunteer urged others in the community to get involved at the aged care facility.

Janice said the residents appreciated someone coming to read them a book or rub cream on their hands, sometimes for just 20 minutes.

“The men could come and talk about farming,” Helen said, noting that the residents loved to reminisce for hours.

“People think because they’re here they’re going to die,” Janice said but residents often live at the lodge for decades.

“They’re here for a long time,” Helen said. “Some are lonely and they just need loving company.”

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