beyondblue is encouraging all volunteer coordinators who support older people to use our new online resources this National Volunteer Week (May 11-17) to provide advice to volunteers on how to boost the mental health of the people they support.
Not only can volunteering make a difference in the lives of older people, research has shown it is good for your own mental health.
Research shows the rate of depression for frail, older people in the community who require support to remain at home can be as high as 30 per cent and the rate of depression for older people in residential care can be as high as 50 per cent.
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said National Volunteer Week was a good time to celebrate the contribution millions of Australians make every day to other people’s lives.
“Volunteers are invaluable in the lives of so many people, especially in older people who may be less mobile and depend on them for social contact,” she said.
“One in six people will experience depression at some stage of their lives, however the risks increase with chronic illness, pain, changes in accommodation, grief and loss and dementia.
“Using these resources, volunteers and volunteer coordinators can equip themselves with knowledge to identify the risks of depression and anxiety, and learn preventative measures they may be able to suggest to help.”
beyondblue has developed the following resources to provide volunteers and volunteer coordinators with more information on how to understand anxiety and depression in older people:
– Volunteers enriching older people’s wellbeing: A beyondblue program Volunteer workbook – Volunteers enriching older people’s wellbeing: A beyondblue program Facilitator guide
– Volunteers in aged care podcast
The comprehensive resources include a guide to facilitate the workshop, a volunteer workbook, videos and podcast.
On average, one in four people will experience anxiety and one in six will experience depression at some point in their lives. beyondblue hopes to increase understanding of anxiety and depression in the general population, particularly among older people, and raise awareness of strategies available to them that may boost the mental health of the older people they support.
To register to use the resources, volunteer coordinators can visit: www.beyondblue.org.au/volunteer-education