Lorna Steeth may be Western Australia’s – or even Australia’s – oldest volunteer, still dedicating her time to helping others at 90 years of age.
A volunteer at Silver Chain’s Palliative Care service, the mother of two has provided care for those with terminal illnesses and respite for their carers for the last 30 years.
“I’ve got a lot out of it – it is interesting and challenging and I have met some absolutely amazing people,” she said. “It is amazing how death is a great leveler.”
A former midwifery nurse, Lorna said she was looking for something to do to help people after retiring at the age of 60.
“I was doing meals on wheels when a friend told me about Silver Chain and I thought it sounded great. I had never nursed anyone in the home – it was so unique at the time.”
Caring for those mostly younger than her, Lorna will happily travel wherever she is needed.
“I still drive, and I go quite a few places,” she said. “I don’t refuse anything, if I’m available I can go.
“When the client is dying at home, it is often difficult for the carer to leave. So, I often do home sits – sitting with the client so the carer can have a rest and leave the house.”
While the role can be emotionally challenging at times, Lorna said having a nursing background helped.
“When you’re caring for someone or providing respite for carers, you become part of the family for that time,” she said. “It is satisfying knowing you are making it that bit easier. You have to be strong.”
Despite her age, Lorna said she had no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“If I am going to be old, I might as well enjoy it and be useful!”
For more information on Silver Chain’s volunteer services, call (08) 9242 0119 or click here.