Ballina’s Dorothy Richardson (right) and Ballina Ex-Services Home resident Mary Johnstone enjoy a quiet moment together in the gardens.
Ballina’s Dorothy Richardson (right) and Ballina Ex-Services Home resident Mary Johnstone enjoy a quiet moment together in the gardens.

Age no obstacle for Dorothy

BALLINA volunteer Dorothy Richardson was this week awarded the RSL LifeCare Milne-Wood Award at a ceremony in Sydney.

The 94-year-old was selected from many nominations statewide for her tireless work assisting RSL LifeCare residents.

Mrs Richardson, who lives at Ballina Ex-Services Home, does about 30 hours of volunteer work each week and said helping others was in her genes.

"My feeling is that while I can keep doing this work, I will. It's not my style to just sit; I like to be busy, and it is really rewarding to see people blossom," she said.

"Some residents are quite reliant on me, and we have some mad times and some sad times, but mostly we spend a lot of time giggling."

RSL LifeCare chairman Rod White said Mrs Richardson she had made an exceptional contribution to the lives of others in care at Ex-Services Ballina, and was a very worthy winner of the prestigious award.

"Dorothy has unwavering respect for the privacy and dignity of the elderly.

"She spends time supporting residents with dementia, assists residents who are vision impaired, and also seeks to spend time with those who are feeling lonely," he said.

Pam Osborne, director of nursing at Ballina Ex-Services, said she was very proud of Dorothy.

"Dorothy spends time talking with and reassuring people, taking them for walks or simply holding their hand," she said.

"She encourages residents to take part in activities, and will often bring our more shy residents to and from an activity, and stay with them throughout to provide support and guidance.

"Through her kindness and caring, Dorothy helps provide our residents with a sense of belonging, well-being and self worth."

Mrs Richardson was characteristically humble about receiving the award.

"When the call came, I thought it was someone trying to sell me something, and it was one of the few times in my life when I was literally blank," she said.

The Milne-Wood Award is offered annually by the board of RSL LifeCare to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the service.



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