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Coligan typifies selfless dedication of countless aged care volunteers across the country

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When Deb Coligan is asked what inspires her to work as a volunteer, she responds that her own experience with her father living in a residential care home has been a major influence.

Coligan is one of 20 volunteers at ACH Group’s West Park Residential Care Home in Goolwa.

National Volunteer Week (May 16-20) celebrates the generous contributions of volunteers.

“There are so many wonderful volunteers at West Park, some of whom have been there for many years,” Coligan says.

After retiring from managing the Meadows Hotel in the Adelaide Hills with her husband, Coligan’s involvement at West Park began at the start of the pandemic in 2020, when she began providing concierge services to visitors.

Deb Coligan says her volunteer role at West Park Residential Care Home has made her better appreciate the amazing contribution staff working in the sector make, especially with regards to the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic.

“After a few months I was asked if I wanted to help create the home’s bi-monthly newsletter that is distributed to residents and their families,” she says.

“My dad lived in a residential care home, and I think it’s vital for families to be given insights into what their loved ones are enjoying in the home.

“The lifestyle staff create new experiences and activities to keep residents engaged and active, and I try to showcase the events by publishing lots of photos.

“The reward for me is seeing the residents read the newsletter.

“I also think residents seeing what is happening in the home – seeing others enjoying experiences – encourages more of them to take part.”

Coligan says the role has also made her better appreciate the amazing contribution staff working in residential care make, especially with regards to the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic.

ACH group volunteer manager, Tay Parker, thanks all ACH Group volunteers.

“ACH Group is so fortunate to have a large group of passionate volunteers,” she says.

“Volunteering benefits both the volunteer, and residents and customers.

“Volunteers enjoy staying in touch with their community, learning new skills, and making new social connections,” she says.

“For residents and customers engaging with volunteers can connect them to new experiences depending on the skills and background of each volunteer and expand their social connections.”

West Park along with ACH Group’s residential care home in Yankalilla is currently seeking volunteers in a wide range of roles including supporting residents to engage in social activities, one-on-one friendly visiting, and specialist group support for example men’s group, gardening, and memory therapy.

If you would like to know more about volunteering at West Park or Yankalilla email Tay Parker via tparker@ach.org.au

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