The Community Visitors Scheme is a government-funded program that matches a volunteer visitor with a lonely or isolated person living in an Aged Care Facility or in his or her own home. The visits are purely for social purposes, and to provide companionship.
Volunteers spend an hour or so a week (or fortnight) with the person doing activities they both enjoy, such as going for a walk, reading, chatting over a cuppa, jigsaws etc. Many of our volunteers go on to develop a true friendship with the person they visit.
Visits can make the world of difference to the health and wellbeing of the person receiving the visits. At the same time, volunteers report a richly rewarding experience in their own life.
Volunteers commit to the program for 12 months and visiting at least once a fortnight, but weekly is preferable.
As a Community Visitor Volunteer you are matched with a lonely or isolated person living in an aged care facility or in their own home within the Bayside or Kingston areas.
Many people living in the community or in aged care facilities do not have regular visitors or may be socially isolated due to health and mobility. A regular visit from a volunteer visitor can make a tremendous difference to the wellbeing of the person.
Visits take place on a weekly or fortnightly basis with the intention of developing an ongoing friendship and social connectedness. The visits are purely social and can be spent doing activities that both parties enjoy, such as chatting, reading, hobbies, going for a walk or watching TV.
If you would like to make a difference to the life of an older lonely person, then this role might be for you!
Here’s a lovely story of support and friendship to emerge from our Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) volunteer program.
CVS volunteer Beverley has been visiting 81-year-old Lesley at her Parkdale Aged Care home since 2019, with the pair enjoying regular catch-ups for coffee, chats and supported walks.
In the early days of visiting, Beverley would dedicate up to two hours to visiting and says it was, “mutually enjoyable and we seem to have lots to talk about and numerous things in common”.
Due to COVID, CVS visits were required to rapidly change, with virtual visits replacing face-to-face meetings for social support during lockdown.
Thinking outside the square, Beverley initiated a way to deliver a hot, fresh coffee safely to the door of Lesley`s care facility. She then went home straight away to call Lesley so they could share their coffee over a chat on the phone.
The surface of the cup was always wiped down by staff before being passed on to Lesley. A new ritual brought on by COVID-19!
This small gesture made such a difference to Lesley and is a wonderful example of how the CVS program can be adapted to meet the needs of different volunteers and residents.
Well done to Beverley for coming up with this thoughtful solution. There are many other examples of our wonderful volunteers adjusting to virtual visiting through phone calls, sending letters/postcards, posting art and craft works or kids’ drawings, virtual games, sharing photos of pets, and doing chats over Zoom, Skype or FaceTime to provide a face to a distant voice.
The CVS continues to provide that much needed companionship, adding immeasurable value to seniors in our community.