CAPTURING intimate moments and sharing them with your loved ones is something we often take for granted, but for Silver Chain volunteer Annice Henderson, it’s a gift that should be treasured.
Mrs Henderson, who works as a trainer and hands-on volunteer as part of the organisation’s Recollections Program, helps terminally ill clients record oral histories and lasting messages for their family and friends.
The program, a free service for Silver Chain clients, was started about 15 years ago after it became apparent there was a need to record messages for terminally ill palliative care clients.
“These patients were asking their nurse if they could write a message to their loved ones or were telling nurses about their life experiences,” Mrs Henderson said.
“So an oral historian was engaged and 12 hospice volunteers were trained.
“The service unfortunately went into the doldrums and the trained volunteers drifted away.
“About five years ago, with me the only trained volunteer left, I decided that is was a shame to waste all my skills and set about revitalising the service.”
A hospice volunteer for 21 years, Mrs Henderson said the program was an important one for both clients and families as it often brought meaning to a life.
“Often a client will say ‘I have done nothing in my life’ but it soon becomes clear that they have done a great deal,” she said.
“All lives are full of small achievements and everyone has something important to say.
“Over the years, I have recorded amazing and varied stories, every one of them the most important thing the teller has to give at the end of their life.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for Recollections or other services can phone 9242 0242.