I can’t dig the garden, but I can weed

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When Yvonne first met her AimBig consultant, Therese, she was fed up – so frustrated with her body and the limitations of her injury. She just wanted to keep pushing through, so Therese needed to help her get comfortable with working to her physical capacity to prevent flare ups.

Yvonne said “Therese was a wonderful support. She makes you feel loved.”

“And now I’m learning to listen to my body and be OK with that.”

After a bilateral wrist injury left her unable to work, Yvonne had a go at studying, but constant flare-ups from typing left her in too much pain. With Therese’s help, Yvonne explored volunteering options and they worked together on adapting to a slower pace of life. No mean feat for a 62-year old mum, grandma and keen gardener used to a busy, working lifestyle.

She started volunteering at a local St Vincent de Paul store, sorting and putting away clothes, as well as helping out with general duties around the shop. Yvonne gradually worked up from one morning to two, and then three.

“Mornings are enough. And if my wrist starts to hurt, I stop. And that’s OK,” said Yvonne.

Now she’s unstoppable. Even though the store’s closed due to COVID-19, she’s back volunteering in preparation for reopening in June. In between shifts, the garden gets a weed and she does quilting as a form of therapy. At the moment she is making a rug for one of her grandchildren.

“Yvonne really needed to keep up the social connection she’d always had through work. She was fed up when she first came to AimBig, but now she’s so much happier,” said Therese.

“She really didn’t want to become isolated or deskilled, which is so important for managing mental wellbeing too, and volunteering is providing a really valuable way to connect and provide purpose.”

 

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