Healthy ageing in Australia’s rural places: the contribution of older volunteers

Drawing on case studies of two ageing rural communities in north-east Victoria, Australia, this article explores how older volunteers both contribute to, and are supported by, third sector activities and services within rural environments. As such, volunteer activities build healthy
ageing in rural settings, and contribute to community viability. However, further analyses suggest that reliance on third sector voluntarism also presents serious challenges for the future. This is particularly the case in relation to the sustainability of healthy ageing in rural settings
where public sector resources are being rationalised. Our findings show that there are risks associated with an over-reliance on volunteers in rural communities and with the excessive regulation of volunteers unless appropriate infrastructure and support are provided.

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