"I enjoy being able to help them learn."

ACSA celebrates National Volunteer Week (21-27 May) with a series of interviews with volunteers in aged care including Noel who helps at ABH Computer Specialist.

21 May 2018

Noel retired 17 years ago and it was his calling to be more involved in the community undertaking teaching and volunteer work to stay relevant in society. 

Noel thrives on helping the elderly and he finds that not only is he teaching them, but they teach him something new every day too so the enjoyment goes both ways.  He says,  "Each resident comes to me with different ideas and I enjoy being able to help them learn."


How long have you been a volunteer?

I have been volunteering at Ashfield Baptist Homes for almost seven years. I retired 17 years ago, which led me into part-time work which was lecturing at community colleges. Following that, from 2003, I have been exclusively doing volunteer work. I am on committees for various organisations such as my local church, I am the leader and treasurer of SingAustralia Ashbury and I have spent six years involved in Probus Ashfield.

Why did you want to be a volunteer?

I think I have knowledge to share and help other people by explaining things. Since I was a young boy I’ve always had a curiosity about how things work but you often need someone to teach you. I like to think I can share my knowledge from my career working for IT companies as a programmer. I worked for a large multinational computer manufacturing company. We were at the forefront of the need for computer equipment. The last ten years I spent in that company was at a helpdesk explaining how to operate computers to people. Needless to say, I have a background teaching people about computers!

How do you believe our residents benefit from learning how to use computers?

I don’t necessarily teach them anything specific – it is more to do with what they want to be taught. So, for example, I have taught multiple residents how to keep in touch with family and friends via email and even Facebook. I believe they value this because it enables them to keep up to date with what is going on with their families and friends. I have helped one resident compile photos from her Facebook into an album on her iPad.

It is also a useful tool for reminiscence. I have shown a resident how to navigate the Google Maps utility to explore how his place of birth and areas he has lived in has changed over the years. Each resident comes to me with different ideas and I enjoy being able to help them learn. They often marvel at what computers can do and what they can offer, and it is my privilege to help them discover it.