Lara Armstrong has found a way to close the distance between her and her loved ones in Perth by volunteering at Baptistcare Mirrambeena Residential Care in Margaret River.
What started as a weekly role as a hairdressing assistant four and half years ago has blossomed into almost daily visits to spend time with the 50 residents.
Lara was inspired to give the gift of time while visiting her mother who lives in residential aged care in Perth, close to the rest of her family.
“I knew that I wanted to be part of brightening up the lives of those in aged care,” she said.
“I felt that making the day a little bit better than it was before for local aged care residents would give me the sense that I was still close to my mum,” she said.
The Margaret River resident became a volunteer at Baptistcare Mirrambeena after reading a social media post that the aged care facility was looking for a hairdresser to do weekly visits.
“I knew that Mirrambeena’s reputation was fantastic and about eight of the ladies that work here are my good friends,” said Lara,
“So, I rang another girlfriend who is a hairdresser and said would you be keen to be the hairdresser once a week and I’ll volunteer as your apprentice.”
Now, rarely a day that goes by when Lara doesn’t visit Baptistcare Mirrambeena which has not only made her feel closer to her mother but surrounded her with people she fondly calls family.
“My experience as a Baptistcare volunteer has been fantastic and all of the residents have become my mum or dad,” she said.
CEO Russel Bricknell, said volunteers are part of the reason Baptistcare’s residential care facilities are so welcoming and nurturing.
“There are many reasons why family and friends are unable to visit aged care residents regularly and this can leave them craving conversations and friendship,” he said.
“Our volunteers offer residents companionship and a strong connection to their communities which is incredibly valuable.”
Mr Bricknell said anyone can be a volunteer – all you need is a genuine desire to help people and empathy, compassion and kindness.
“Our volunteers tell me it’s a win-win situation, because it gives them such a sense of purpose and fulfilment.”
If you are looking for a way to make a difference to your life and to others, why not volunteer for Baptistcare?
Find out more at www.baptistcare.com.au/volunteering