Labour of love
When Thursday rolls around each week, Michele greets John like an old friend with a wide smile and a friendly hello. Usually carrying a bag of fresh groceries, Michele spends the next hour preparing fresh home-cooked meals and genuinely enjoying John’s company.
Michele is one of several volunteers making a difference to people's lives by just being herself.
After retiring and finding herself longing for something to do that did not involve full-time work, she stumbled upon an ad for Feros Care and joined its In Great Company program, which seeks to match volunteers with seniors in the community who need companionship and extra assistance.
“I found myself with nothing to do and wanted to find a way to spend my time. When I first joined Feros Care I really had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Michele laughed.
“I ended up being matched with just the loveliest people through the volunteer program and it just worked out. I think I am very fortunate to get to call on these people each week.”
On a weekly basis, Michele visits John and connects with other clients by phone or text. Despite COVID-19 hitting the pause button around the world, Michele says for her not much has changed and she still does what she can to connect with her seniors.
“Nothing has really changed, even connecting by phone we still have a good chat and a laugh," says Michele.
"We talk about catching up for coffee when this is all over so for me it still feels very similar.
“I still visit John in person each week and he’s actually a lot happier during this time. He gets a little bit of extra assistance and he is loving it,” she chuckled.
Michele lights up when she talks about John and it's clear how much she cares for him.
“Oh John is just wonderful, he is an absolute gentleman. He loves company and is just a delight to visit," she says.
John, In Great Company client
“I get there and we spend an hour together having a chat – it is just a really good time.
“I do think I am lucky to get to spend time with such lovely people from different walks of life. We talk about their past and their children and you get to hear some very interesting stories.
“To see how older people live and manage and how resourceful and independent they are, especially when they are living by themselves, is just such a rewarding way to spend your time.
“John, even after his strokes and heart attack, he still gets around and manages so well. It is absolutely inspiring and that’s what I get out of volunteering.”
During her time with In Great Company Michele has become a staple to the program, and she herself is just as inspiring as the clients she raves about. Michele says the experience is extremely rewarding and recommends others give it a go.
“It is such a nice way to spend time and give something back," she says.
"I say if you find yourself with nothing to do, why not give it a crack.”
You can watch Michele and John's story by clicking here.
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