29 June 2020

‘It’s a privilege to serve’ – Robert, Volunteer

Written by Margaret Furlong, Volunteer Coordinator at Arcare

‘It’s a privilege to serve’

Arcare is very fortunate to be supported by a team of talented volunteers who give generously of their time and skills for the benefit of clients and team members.

Our volunteers come from all walks of life, bringing with them a variety of careers, life experiences and interests.

When volunteers join the team, we look for their heart to give and a gentle approach to supporting the elderly.

One such volunteer is Robert McDermott, a pastoral care volunteer, who commenced volunteering at Arcare Hope Island in 2017.

Robert is someone who is not afraid of a challenge and has walked many paths of life.

After graduating from Teachers’ College as a primary school teacher, Robert successfully ran his own business for several years, before re-training as a Registered Nurse.

Before retirement, Robert worked for 10 years in aged care as a Registered Nurse in New South Wales, where he was living with his family.

After retirement, Robert studied theology and qualified as a Chaplain.

We asked Robert what attracted him to volunteer at Arcare Hope Island.

From what I have experienced, having worked and now volunteered in aged care, ageing and increased dependence is full of challenges. Life is often lonely,’ he said.

I was looking for a way to help meet the emotional and spiritual needs of those living in aged care, so I started volunteering.’

Robert attends Hope Island two to three days a week, for several hours a day.

Volunteering in aged care is much more than a way to fill up my time. It is a privilege to serve,’ Robert says.

‘Giving pastoral care one-on-one or doing devotions with a group, is something many of the residents have come to cherish, as have I.’

When needed, Robert also brings pastoral care support to Arcare Sanctuary Manors and Arcare Helensvale St James.

Robert is also very involved with his local church community, and when he’s not volunteering, he enjoys spending time with his wife, their four children and four grandchildren.

Allison Ferguson, Lifestyle Co-ordinator at Hope Island, is full of praise for Robert’s contributions.

Robert has an ability to interact with all residents’, she says. ‘If they feel like talking, he’ll listen. If they’re feeling down, he’ll bring them a message of hope and optimism. He has a way of meeting them where they’re at and bringing comfort. We are very grateful for all that Robert does for us.’

Robert’s contributions are also greatly appreciated by Natasha Wickham, Residence Manager.

‘Robert’s visits are a highlight of the day for the residents of Hope Island. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has meant that volunteers aren’t able to attend in person. We all miss him very much and look forward to welcoming him back, once the current restrictions are lifted,’ she says.

Thank you very much for everything Robert. We are extremely grateful for the pastoral care support you bring to our Arcare communities.

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