When Herbert Hahn suffered a back injury three years ago, he struggled to find work.
Undeterred, the Werribee resident signed up to be a volunteer at Glendale Aged Care in Hoppers Crossing, where he visits dementia patients each fortnight.
“It’s nice to give them some hope and a friend,” he said.
Mr Hahn, a former pastry chef, said he would never forget the reaction when he made a black forest cake for a resident’s birthday.
“He had tears in his eyes because he was so happy about the cake – he really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s nice to know I’m making an impact.”
Fellow Glendale volunteer Graeme Morrison joined the team in 1993 when his father-in-law became a resident.
Mr Morrison, also from Werribee, helps run the singing group.
“It doesn’t take much encouragement to get people to sing,” he said.
“I’ve met some wonderful, wonderful people here that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t volunteered.”
Mr Morrison said his volunteer work had been a lifesaver in more ways than one – in 2014, he suffered a heart attack after helping run Christmas Carols at the home, and was saved by the paramedics who were quickly called to the scene.
Mr Hahn and Mr Morrison were among 45 Glendale volunteers honoured at a morning tea on Friday to celebrate National Volunteer Week.