Lynne’s story – “everyone’s just so happy here”
Lynne Riddle began volunteering at HBH Senior Living recently and loves it. “Volunteering is perfect … I get to meet all sorts of different people,” she says.
Lynne and her family moved to Howick from Tauranga about two and a half years ago, and she was very keen to continue her volunteer work with older people. “I had volunteered in Tauranga in a hospital environment for around 5 years. 95% of my interaction was with the elderly and I really enjoyed it,” she says. “When I moved here, I saw the HBH Senior Living website and thought I’d join up. It very clearly outlined what volunteer positions needed filling.”
“I thought, ‘well, you’re not going to know if you like it until you try it’, so I did. It’s a very different environment than the hospital: it’s a lot more relaxed. The staff are so joyful and happy – it’s a great place to be,” Lynne enthuses.
Lynne helps out in the hospital on a Wednesday morning in the church services. “I help get everyone settled for church, then stay on through communion and hymns – it’s great.” She says. “Then I help with getting everyone back and get them set up for lunch in Seymour’s dining wing.”
She says she has now ‘branched out’ and has also started driving the shopping van on a Tuesday once a month. This involves taking some of the residents from our independent apartments to the local Howick shops and back, a sociable role that Lynne relishes. “I get to meet all the shoppers – they’re such lovely people,” she says. “I always put my hand up if they need volunteers to take residents to medical appointments. I really enjoy that as well and we often have a good giggle.”
She likes to ask residents how they ended up at HBH Senior Living and what made them choose it over other retirement villages. “They love it! Their answers have been nothing but positive – everyone’s just so happy here,” she says.
Lynne says she gets a real kick out of volunteering. “I haven’t worked since we moved to New Zealand from South Africa because of my husband’s job and my kids were in school,” she explains. “I felt like I needed to do something and volunteering is perfect. It’s just a couple of hours and I get to meet all sorts of different people.”
She has noticed that the volunteers make a huge difference to residents’ lives, especially during the challenges of the past two years. “Residents are really only getting out for medical appointments at the moment, but we make the most of it. They’ve managed very well through the COVID situation – we just take every day as it comes.”
Her experience at HBH has been very, very positive, she says. “I would definitely recommend it to others in our community. It’s only a few hours of your time, yet you make a world of difference.”