SCS matches committed volunteer visitors to seniors living in local residential aged care homes to help beat social isolation. Find out how people you know might benefit from visits, or how you can become a visitor yourself.
Social isolation and loneliness is another unfortunate pandemic that Sydney Community Services is trying to beat.
Being part of a government program called the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) puts us in the wonderful position of being able to match people in residential care homes who feel isolated to visitors who share similar interests, cultural backgrounds, languages and faiths.
It’s something SCS has done successfully for the past 25 years – creating bonds of friendship between our visitors and residents in care homes in places such as Lane Cove, Hunters Hill and Ryde.
We have many, many visitors making their way out at least once per fortnight (which is the basic commitment), or even as frequently as once per week with a mission to provide constant and committed companionship.
One of our visitor volunteers recounted their experience to us. They explained, “My first friend was a laugh and a half. She lived in residential aged care but was not an old person. She would wait by the front door for me to arrive on Friday mornings so that we could go out in search of the best iced coffee and cake in town – well, at least in the local area. We would laugh and laugh as mates do as we toured Top Ryde or Gladesville shops for her weekly needs – usually lollies!”.
Like many people, this person did not have too many family members close by. Our volunteer told us, “I was her only link to the outside world at that time. I was privileged to be with her for the time we had together – holding her hand and chatting to her as we did over an iced coffee. The pleasure she and I both derived from this experience of friendship, beginning to end, was indescribable and I would not swap it for the world.”
For residents who are socially isolated, visits such as these can improve their quality of life and assist in helping them to feel connected to the world at large. Visits allow residents to explore and further their social, mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs in their current stage of life and provides opportunity for reflection.
Rest assured – SCS can train potential companions in specifics of cultural awareness to ensure both parties are comfortable, while we also provide COVID Infection Training.
In the event we enter further, tighter COVID restrictions, we switch the program, so we maintain phone calls with the clients and provide wellness packs too.
CVS is a free service available to anyone receiving government subsidised residential aged care. Please contact us if you wish to refer a relative or someone you know, or if you want to become a CVS volunteer. We are always on the look out for people who have time to give.