COTA Victoria volunteer Anita Smith (pictured above) is the co-author of “Death of a Partner,” a major COTA Victoria publication.
Reflecting on her work as part of National Volunteer Week 2023, Anita explained how the free, practical guide came to be.
“I had several friends who lost their partners and were struggling to deal with all the administration,” she said. “Legal and financial problems with changing accounts and details with energy, telecommunication, local, state and Commonwealth Government departments. I then talked to people in my networks and discovered that this seemed to be a major problem many people faced after their partner died.”
After identifying the need for clear, concise information, Anita tapped into extensive experience as a financial counsellor and approached COTA Victoria to launch the project. Together with co-author Anne, the pair began to write a report and collect case studies to aid other older Victorians dealing with the loss of a partner.
“I have always been an advocate for people and have knowledge of what has happened in the past,” said Anita. “I have been involved in energy advocacy for nearly 40 years and hopefully have been able to bring this knowledge and experience to COTA [Victoria].
“Volunteering, for many people who have had professional careers, is a way for them to bring their past knowledge and experience to an organisation and to impart that corporate memory to the organisation,” she continued.
There’s also the opportunity for a bit of fun.
“Anne and I were participating in a large forum with all the different ombudsman attending and other relevant stakeholders,” she recalled.
“While Anne was speaking a large stick insect which came from a bunch of flowers behind her descended on her face. We both managed to keep straight faces until the end of the forum and then descended into fits of laughter.”
Last updated in May 2018, you can access our “Death of a Partner” publication here.