Making Friends with Older People
The City of Unley would not be what it is today without the generous services of its volunteers who work in a wide variety of ways to enhance the quality of life for many residents.
The Community Visitors Scheme is one program sponsored by the City of Unley which relies solely on volunteers for its existence.
The Scheme was initiated by the Federal Government over twenty years ago with the aim to establish and strengthen links between people living in Commonwealth Funded aged care facilities and their local community.
In the Scheme volunteers become Community Visitors where they are matched to visit at least fortnightly, a suitable resident in an aged care facility who has a sense of isolation and is lonely.
People in these facilities are frail or disabled and often experience feelings of isolation and loneliness principally due to the fact that friends and family cannot visit them. This can be for a variety of reasons such as ill health, distance, or the resident may have no friends or family living.
Nursing staff in these facilities frequently find their time is at a premium just providing essential care. There is not sufficient time to spend of the basic human needs of talking, listening and reflecting.
Community Visitors fill this gap by not only spending time listening and chatting with their residents but may also find they participate in a range of activities such as going for a walk, reading, playing board games, joining in activities in the facility and accompanying them on outings.
Over time a unique and rewarding friendship develops.
Naturally, it is not always possible to visit so a telephone call, letter or postcards are also counted as visits as they help to maintain meaningful contact.
In undertaking this role Community Visitors are supported by the City of Unley through support meetings, workshops and training.
Mayor Lachlan Clyne said of the program; “I am very proud of our volunteers, I believe that they are a fantastic asset to the City of Unley. I recommend you take the time and think about joining the Community Visitor Scheme.”
He continued; “It is also often through this support that many Community Visitors find they not only have a wonderful friendship with their resident, but because they share a common interest, a bond and friendship with fellow Community Visitors.”
In essence, the Community Visitor Scheme acts as a conduit through which the lives of volunteer Community Visitors and aged care facility residents are enhanced and strengthened.
If you would like to become a Community Visitor or know more about the Community Visitors Scheme contact our Volunteer Management Officer Karen Jenkinson on 8372 5116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.