Celebrating International Volunteers Day

A woman visiting an older lady at an aged care facility. They are both smiling at the camera Danijela visiting Jacqueline in a residential aged care facility. Image supplied by Danijela Hlis.

December 5 is International Volunteer Day. We’re recognising and celebrating our dedicated volunteers in aged care and the friendship and companionship they bring to older Australians.

Volunteers provide important, non-clinical support that complements the role of aged care workers. The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS), soon to become the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS), is our key volunteering initiative in aged care.

The CVS arrange visits to older people to provide friendship and companionship, which is essential in reducing the risk of loneliness and social isolation.

Watch this video to find out more about the CVS.

[Graphic: December 5th is International Volunteer Day. We want to say thank you to all our dedicated volunteers across Australia.]


HANS: Hey mate!


HANS: How are you?


[Graphic: Meet Rahman and Hans]

[Cut to SARAH and BETTY with Sarah’s dog.]

SARAH: Look who it is. Gave you a surprise. You look gorgeous.

[Graphic: Meet Sarah and Betty]

[Cut to CARLO.]

GERMANA: Hello. [off-screen]

CARLO: Oh, hello Germana.

GERMANA: There’s my grandson!

CARLO: Long time no see.

GERMANA: Lovely to see you.

CARLO: It’s been three days. (laughs)

[Graphic: Meet Carlo and Germana]

[Graphic: Celebrating 30 years of the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS). The dedication and genuine care of volunteers, makes such a positive difference in an older person’s life.]

[Cut to RAHMAN.]

RAHMAN: The last 30 years with community visitors scheme. I met with over eight residents or eight of my friends. Volunteering gives me identity. It’s changed me. I think I am more benefited and richer where I am now.

[RAHMAN walks into HANS’ bedroom.]

RAHMAN: Guess what? What is this?

HANS: Oh, apple pie!

RAHMAN: There you go! (laughs)

HANS: I’m very grateful to Rahman. We’ve been friends for 17 years. I think he’s one of my longest friendships. That’s my friend here, my partner.

[Cut to Germana and Carlo.]

CARLO: You’re a model, didn’t you know? A supermodel.

GERMANA: And what are you?

CARLO: (laughs) I’m the best supporting actor.

CARLO: The moment I was introduced to Germana, I walked into her bedroom and it was like a house on fire from the first moment. Since then, I’ve been visiting and we’ve gotten along very well.

GERMANA: He’s a great guy. He’s inspirational. He can make me think.

CARLO: Thank you, Germana.

GERMANA: Yes it’s … I feel like I know you forever. Actually, I would go as far as say I love him.

[Cut to SARAH and BETTY with Sarah’s dog.]

SARAH: Oh, you want to say “hi” to Betty? BETTY: Oh, come on. G’day. You can hop up on my leg if you like.

SARAH: I started volunteering during the lockdown. It’s something that I look forward to every week. Like I don’t, I probably wouldn’t even call it volunteering.

It’s sort of visiting a friend.

BETTY: She’s made a big difference to my life. Really has.

SARAH: If you’re thinking about becoming a volunteer, 100%, do it. It’s incredibly rewarding and I think very important. So definitely do it.

[Cut to GERMANA.]

GERMANA: We in the aged care facility, we do need communication with outside people because when you’re old, you feel you’re put on the side and that’s it. With him, I don’t feel like that.

[Cut to RAHMAN.]

RAHMAN: The CVS is a very unique recognition of the senior citizen. This is our time to recognise them. It’s a simple way to say thank you. We are here for you because of what you’ve done for our nation and our community.

[Graphic: Celebrating 30 years of the CVS. To become a volunteer, visit health.gov.au/cvs]

Council of Elders member Danijela Hlis knows firsthand the positive impact volunteering can have on older people.

“I have been a volunteer with many different organisations since 1992. Australia is a land of caring, hardworking volunteers.

“I replied to an advertisement from the Salvation Army, they were running a befriending program for lonely seniors in residential care facilities. I was in my early forties, career oriented, very busy, but wanted to learn not only about volunteering but also about ageing and aged care.”

Danijela has created lifelong friendships through her volunteering, and recognises the ways being a volunteer has enriched her own life.

“Spending time, enabling them to get some news from the outside world, bringing them little presents, chocolates, a bunch of flowers from my garden, fills me with much joy.

“Volunteering is a first-class university; we keep on learning from one another, gaining not only knowledge but also wisdom.”

We encourage volunteers from all backgrounds to join the CVS and experience how you can make a positive difference to the lives of older people, as well as your own.

To find out more about how to become a volunteer, visit Volunteer with the Community Visitors Scheme

Let's change aged care, together

Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.

The changes mean older Australians will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.

To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.

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The Department of Health and Aged Care acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.