Ellen Burton cared for her husband for many years after his dementia diagnosis.
She knows the value of spending time with someone in need, whether it's just by lending an ear, going for a walk together or playing a board game.
Ms Burton has signed up for a new volunteer program at Shoalhaven Hospital and is encouraging others who are passionate about volunteering to do the same.
The Volunteers Assisting and Supporting Elderly patients (VASE) program is coordinated by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and aims to support older people at Shoalhaven Hospital.
Ms Burton said the knowledge that she can provide comfort to someone else is invaluable.
"I want to utilise the knowledge and experience I gained when caring for my husband. It's now time for me to get back out into the world and give back to others," she said.
"The nurses and doctors do an amazing job, but having a program like this when Jim had to be hospitalised would have been a huge comfort to me. I would have liked knowing that someone had time to talk to him or read to him or just sit with him when I wasn't there. Now I can do that for others."
I would have liked knowing that someone had time to talk to him or read to him or just sit with him when I wasn't there. Now I can do that for others.Ellen Burton
The VASE program is set to complement the Fit for Frailty program, with shared goals of physical and emotional wellness, and recovery for older patients.
Training is provided and new volunteers work alongside experienced people to gain practical skills.
They are also provided with ongoing education and support.
Shoalhaven Hospital Nurse Unit Manager, Nicole Ledger said the benefits go both ways.
"Our volunteers tell us that helping others gives them a sense of purpose and is also a great way to meet new people and make friends," she said.
It's a sentiment Ms Burton echoed.
"I come away feeling contented that I have made a difference and have brought a little comfort and companionship to someone," she said.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer contact Volunteer Co-ordinator Elanne Thompson on 4464 6985 or email@example.com