As a volunteer carer in a care home you can expect to go through a whirlwind of emotions. Especially is this is your first time volunteering as a carer. You will not be able to volunteer as a one off - you will want to keep on giving. If you are a caring person and you like being kind to people and helping them out, you will make a great volunteer carer.
By volunteering as a carer, you will be in direct contact with the residents of the care home. According to IVR the involvement of volunteer carers has “delivered fundamental socialisation, company and ‘someone to talk to’ ranging from very basic ‘sitting and being’ or hand-holding to more substantial long term one-to-one befriending relationships and support”. The quality of life of residents in care homes majorly improves with the help of volunteer carers, specifically the social and emotional side of life.
As previously stated, after you become a volunteer carer it is hard to stop. As a volunteer carer you will get to meet these elders, get to know their stories and form such strong bonds with them, that you will always want to come back and spend time together.
The volunteer - elder relationship will change into a friendship relationship. This relationship can consist of walks around the care home or trips outside of the care home. As a volunteer carer you can even expect into developing relationships with the elder’s family. You can expect to form genuine and deep friendships.
As a volunteer carer, you may expect to work with elders which are in a more sensitive situation in their life. Some elders may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease for example. But even in this case, as a volunteer you are able to help them. Even if the elder person you are volunteering to help has moderate or severe dementia for example, you will still be able to make a difference in their lives. Social stimulation and company are key elements in helping people with dementia. It was discovered that volunteer carers can have major positive impacts on the well-being of the care home residents. Volunteer carers can help the elders settle in to the care home, they can add meaning to their life, make them enjoy life more and altogether reduce their stress levels, anxiety or distress. It was discovered that the only negative effect left on residents was when the volunteer carer left and broke the bond they have formed together.
Volunteering as a carer is very fun as well. Apart from the rewarding aspect of volunteering, you also get to have some very interesting conversations with the elders in the care home, learn new things from each other and have some fun too. You could be playing games, quizzes, read newspapers or books together or just have small chats - this is how a volunteer carer can mentally and physically stimulate the elders. It has been proven that mental stimulation can slow cognitive decline. So what more reason would you need to become a volunteer carer? Helping someone improve their life chances can sure be a reason to volunteer.
Volunteering as a carer in a care home is actually multi-faceted. You do not only help yourself and the residents of the care home as a volunteer, but also the staff in that particular institution. Mental and physical well-being can be boosted with the help of volunteer carers. This is a direct result of the volunteer carer’s involvement - they take on part of the caring job off of the carers’ shoulders and offer them some moments of respite.
Moreover, volunteering as a carer will help you immensely. The perks of volunteering, you can only feel for yourself, but here are just some of them:
All in all, volunteering as a carer is such a wonderful experience for both you and the people you help. If you have not done any volunteer work before, most probably a volunteer carer opportunity will be the most rewarding thing to do. You don’t have to commit to a set number of hours, you can do it whenever you can afford to. As a volunteer carer you get to pick the times you volunteer. Furthermore, depending on your interests, you can choose to be a volunteer carer in a home and be in direct contact with the elders there. Otherwise, you can choose to volunteer for care events and do your bit to raise awareness for care and elderly people.