Age no boundary for volunteer
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.
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Montana Ardon | Communications Officer
T 08 9208 8310 | E Montana.Ardon@silverchain.org.au
About Silver Chain Group
We are a not-for-profit organisation delivering community health and care services across Australia. We help people of all ages to receive the care they need to remain happy and healthy at home.
We have a proud history of serving Australians for over 110 years in Western Australia and more than 120 years as RDNS in South Australia. We currently deliver our services in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
With over 4,000 staff and 130 volunteers, we assist more than 100,000 people to remain living in their homes and community every year.