Melissa – singing and foot massage

At Calvary Kogarah, I sing regularly at the dementia care unit at Mary Potter House and afterwards provide foot massages to the patients in our rehab section.

I wanted to become a volunteer because I felt that being of service to others was an important way of giving back to the community when I had spare time. There is so much to learn, so many wonderful stories to be shared by the elderly at a time when illness or Dementia may render them more vulnerable and in need of support, kindness and validation.

My favourite thing about volunteering is experiencing the joy and aliveness of the dementia patients when we gather to sing songs that awaken positive memories and transform anxiety and fear into smiles and laughter.

My inspiration is Anne- Marie who is always so kind and understanding and whose efforts to train up new volunteers have enlivened the volunteer programme and kept it going- benefitting so many people in the community over the years.

My other inspiration is the pianist Noel who into his 90s has accompanied me on piano for several years and in spite of his own health issues, continued to turn up every Monday until recently.

My biggest surprise about volunteering is the tremendous feeling of satisfaction and gratitude it brings and how it reminds me of my own good luck in being able to bring a smile to someone’s day in a small way.

My advice to someone who is thinking about volunteering at Calvary is to work out what your strengths are and what you’re able to offer in terms of skills and time, and to be prepared to get more out of volunteering than you’ll ever put into it!


Melissa volunteers at  Calvary Health Care Kogarah public hospital in Sydney, NSW

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