Dying alone is the reality of many older Australians who are faced with a lonely death. This could be because they don't have family or friends nearby, relationships have broken down, or other commitments make it difficult for someone to be with them 24 hours a day.
In 2020, non-profit aged care provider Amana Living introduced the No One Dies Alone Companion (NODAC) program. It was inspired by the No One Dies Alone program founded at Sacred Heart Medical Center in America.
The program involves volunteers providing companionship to an Amana Living resident at the end of their life. This is different for every resident, but it can include holding a conversation, reading to them, playing music, or giving comfort simply by being there.
NODAC volunteers provide support in three-hour blocks over a 24-hour period. The role complements the high-quality clinical and personal care delivered by Amana Living staff, ensuring there is always someone with the resident.
The program was recently launched at Amana Living's Wearne House in Mandurah, and Amana Living needs volunteers from the Peel region who want to support a person in their final moments by providing vital reassurance and human connection.
To become a NODAC volunteer, you need to have empathy, good communication skills, resilience, a willingness to commit to training, and your own mobile phone and transport. You also need to be able to commit to at least one, three-hour shift per month.
If you become a volunteer, you can select the care centre you visit and the time you have available. You'll be fully supported by Amana Living's NODAC Coordinator.
Kelly Frausin is a NODAC volunteer who joined the program because she wanted the opportunity to give back.
"My grandmother had passed away and our family was with her the whole time," Kelly said. "After reading an article about the program, it made me realise that many aged care residents don't get visitors and aren't as lucky as my family. I decided the NODAC volunteer position would be a way for me to give back."
Amana Living also welcomes people who would like to volunteer for other activities such as being a companion to residents who do not have visitors or family members able to support them.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.