Cure for post-holiday blues

23:18, Jan 24 2013
Southland Times photo
Volunteers Ngaire Gray, Meg Agnew, Jenny Hogg and Myra McNatty prepare lunch for all the visitors to the Age Concern centre in Forth St.

Behind the smiling faces of the elderly at Age Concern Southland, and beyond the neatly laid out tables ready for lunch, are a group of dedicated volunteers, ensuring those smiles stick, and the food keeps on coming.

Age Concern Southland manager Janetter Turner said the centre had been swamped with people waiting for their doors to open after the Christmas break last week, but it was to be expected as many people find themselves alone again after the festive season.

Family often return home at Christmas and older people are surrounded by family and busy in the hype of Christmas, but when all the family go home to their busy lives, their loved ones are often left feeling lonely, she said.

So the organisation is calling for more volunteers to help continue the number of services they provide to ensure people are not left alone and isolated in their homes.

Whether it is an hour a fortnight, or two days a week, we need new volunteers to be provide company, help serve lunches or to simply think of new initiatives and activities, she said.

"Volunteers are a huge part of our service."


Several of the volunteers were 80 years old themselves but the organisation also had volunteers as young as 15 give up their time.

It was often a win-win situation, with the elderly benefiting from the company of others and the volunteers being able to give back to their community, and often picking up a few lessons about life along the way.

Volunteer Meg Agnew said seeing those who came through the centre happy and smiling, kept her going back every week.

"Just seeing them happy, that's what's great."

The Southland Times