After chatting to Rosemary for a mere few minutes we can already see she is something of a remarkable figure. At seventy-seven she still has this incredible spark about her. She is one of our more seasoned volunteers within our MiCare family.
Rosemary is originally from Malta. Shortly after she arrived in Australia in 1960, Rosemary had to return back home to visit her sick grandmother. There she would meet her future husband whom she soon married in Malta. They then returned to Australia in the later part of 1960. She now has four married sons and ten grandchildren – nine grandsons and one granddaughter. Rosemary points out that she is proud of her grandchildren, although she mentions how difficult it can be when Christmas gift shopping comes around, “…but we give them what we can afford”, she says with a laugh.
After hearing a Maltese radio advertisement asking for volunteers who can visit elderly people in their homes and in hospitals she decided this was the time to start volunteering. As a volunteer she progressed first through St. Vincent de Paul before she became a volunteer with New Hope Foundation.
What is the secret behind Rosemary’s continuing determination as a volunteer? She credits her willingness to be there for others and her ability to listen to those who need a listening ear. Rosemary says, “The more you listen the more you can absorb what they’re trying to say and how they feel”. She believes the majority of the clients she meets through MiCare’s Community Visitors Scheme program just need someone to be their confidant; a person outside their own circle of family and friends; someone who can lend an unbiased ear.
Rosemary points out that she particularly connects with her senior clients from Europe who lived during World War II. She feels she is in some way able to live through them as she herself moved to Australia at the young age of 16. Rosemary says, “…I didn’t get to really grow up with my Maltese culture as much as these other European migrants did. So I felt like I was living my younger years through them in a way”.
While Rosemary does not intend to take on new clients anytime soon she does intend to keep volunteering for as long as she can because “…it really does give me great joy and it’s great to see how through my presence I am able to help others become at peace with their families and friends and ultimately with themselves. Through this I feel like I have become a part of their extended family”, says Rosemary.