Ruth Hosking, 89, a dedicated volunteer for more than 60 years, has been awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to Bendigo.
Ruth is humbled yet delighted with the accolade, and is thrilled that so many people have reached out to her with congratulations.
Ruth’s love of volunteering runs deep. She’s driven by a commitment to helping people to help themselves.
‘At COTA Victoria, I’m part of the education peer support group, as well as supporting the Aged Care Navigator Program and participating in panel discussions,’ she said.
‘Every conversation I have with an older person or a member of their family, I am striving to give them clarity in often emotional and complex times.
‘I take the time to craft fact sheets and give them out to people who have come to hear me speak. This allows them to digest the myriad of details and it gives them an opportunity to think about the process and call me again to fill in the gaps.’
Despite the pandemic, Ruth continues to do her valuable work online, finding ways to connect to the people who need her help.
‘Something I love about volunteering is the satisfaction of playing a small role in helping someone improve quality of life for a loved one. I am determined to be able to help people with their journey and their family’s journey.
‘With areas such as aged care – which is often complex and overwhelming – I want to give them the information they need so they can gain the confidence to make informed decision and improve the situation they are currently in, as every situation is different. It’s a very emotional time, so it’s so important to know that we are here to help,’ Ruth added.
After more than 30 years as a hospital nurse, Ruth found that the transition to volunteering was seamless.
‘I loved taking care of patients, so those skills have been the foundation to my volunteer work today.’
Married to Bill for 65 years, with two children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren, Ruth certainly has a lot on her plate – but she wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a saying about volunteering that continues to resonate with Ruth: I only walk this way once. Therefore, if there is any help I can give, let me do it now. For I will not walk this way again.
According to Karen Ivanka, Team Leader, Aged Care Navigators, Ruth is a highly respected and valued member of the peer education team.