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Meet the volunteer: Glenys Cosmas

Glenys has had her share of experiences in looking after others - so when the opportunity to volunteer with In Great Company presented itself, she felt she was perfect for the role. Find out how she finds being a volunteer in retirement.

When did you get involved with Feros Care / In Great Company? 

It was November 2020 when I searched online for volunteer work and Feros Care and the Friendly Visitor Program popped up, which really attracted me. I researched the Community Volunteer Scheme and I’m so glad it just appeared there because I didn’t know what I was looking for really.

I had an interview not long after that with Alison and had my first match with a client in December 2020.

What attracted you to the cause?

I’ve always enjoyed the company of seniors, I worked in a dementia ward at a nursing home for 7 years, so gained a lot of experience there, loved looking after my parents and grandparents as they aged. I enjoy hearing historical stories from the past, what mistakes we can learn from, it’s my inclination I suppose. I love history and things from the past.

What attracted you to this organisation in particular? 

Came up on the website and I identified with all the values and the philosophy of In Great Company / Feros Care. “Dream-makers, Enthusiasm and Kindness” I identified with and thought they were great. The quote that said “we all need company and a bit of a laugh” stuck out for me. There’s a quote from Billy Connolly I love - “If you let the wrong things in life be funny, it cures them." So we all need company and a bit of a laugh. If we can create the habit of seeing humour in the situations of everyday life it can create a more positive attitude when facing difficult times.

What are your activities and what do they involve? 

I am a church person and I enjoy going and volunteering there as well. I like minding my grandchildren of which I have 10. Four are interstate and three are step-grandchildren. I have been a Daycare Grandmum a couple of days a week for the past 7 years. I am retired and I’ve never been busier. I love day-tripping around QLD and Northern NSW. I love going for walks with my little dog, a 11-year-old shitzu cross poodle called Zeffie. Family gatherings, gardening, cooking. Quilting and crocheting are my favourite. Have recently learnt jigsaw puzzles with one of my clients, I love doing them now!

What motivates you to stay involved? 

To be truthful at the moment I have a Centrelink requirement to fulfill. I had to either go back to work or do volunteering and I chose the volunteering. But that’s not the real motivation. I want to stay an interesting person and ward off dementia for myself and others along the way. Being socially involved keeps your mind healthy. My husband hasn’t been well for past 30 years with a mental health condition so this helps me be a more understanding and tolerant person.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that In Great Company does? 

It provides access to self-management tools and resources. You can have your needs met having someone to help you. You can self-manage your life with the help of Feros Care. It recognises that people’s goals and needs are diverse and they work in flexible and creative ways to support this diversity. I think that is great about the company being flexible and creative. It gives seniors a voice and somewhere to connect and get support so they can live a safe and happy life in their own home.

Why do you volunteer? 

It’s great for my own physical and mental health, it makes me feel happy and gets me out of the house. It makes for interesting and valuable social contacts and I feel good contributing and giving back, it makes you appreciate life more in general.

Quote from Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud? 

Most proud that I didn’t let my fear of not knowing how to use modern technology (computer) stop me from applying to do volunteering. It wasn’t easy asking family members for help, or rounding them up to do it. Family had to help me scan documents off.

Proud of my family and grandchildren. Four children, three girls and a son.

What do you hope In Great Company will achieve in the near future? In the long term? 

Having well trained staff and volunteers who love their job and feel valued. Willing to go the extra mile. Maintain high standards and always look to improve outcomes for their colleagues and those being cared for.

I’d like to see excellent pathways to enable people to easily access all the supports they need to their lives their happy, fulfilled lives.

In the long term I hope that in this fast-paced world of advancing technology, at the end of the day no matter how far we travel into cyberspace, humans will need humans.

We will always need the human touch (once COVID is over, of course).

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration? 

My husband lives with a disability which made me interested in finding out as much as I could about ways of helping out and improving living conditions. Having worked in the dementia field and mental health for 15 years gave me inspiration.

Any advice for new volunteers?

Persevere and enjoy! There is a lot of red tape to get through but look for the special moments and have fun. Sometimes you need to be thick skinned. Self-reflect (ask yourself, could I have done better along the way), and do your research.

If you'd like to become a volunteer with In Great Company and make a senior's life less lonely, you can do so here.

Young man and senior man fishing

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