A SILVER anniversary was celebrated at Jack Lonsdale Lodge this week.
On Tuesday, Paul Lovell clocked up 25 years as a volunteer with Ballarat Health Service’s aged care service.
The 48-year-old has spent more than half his life helping others, first at the Hook Centre at Dana Street and then at the lodge in Sebastopol.
He remembers starting on October 20, 1988, and giving himself a month to see if he would like it.
“It’s a funny thing,”Mr Lovell explained. “I wasn’t that fond of aged care then.
“So I thought I wanted to see if I could handle it. It was initially about that challenge. I had worked with the Red Cross with both kids and older people. I thought I’d give it a month and I’m still here.
“Now I know I’m right where I should be.”
Mr Lovell is something of a jack of all trades at the centre.
He does laundry, is on the volunteer liaison group and helps organise activities for the 60 residents.
Activities include playing cards, cooking, dog therapy, and a host of other things that help brighten the lives of others.
“The best part is seeing the elderly people smiling and enjoying their life,” he said. “We keep them mixing with people and enjoying as normal a life as they can.
“The most challenging thing is working with those people with dementia.
“They have a very flexible mindset because of their condition and you have to be very flexible too.”
Mr Lovell has some health issues of his own which prevent him from doing paid employment. Rather than dwell on that, he decided it was best to give something back.
Mr Lovell praised staff at Jack Lonsdale Lodge, particularly volunteer services manager Sue Jakob and lifestyle co-ordinator Robyn Pascoe.