Senior couple spending time together at home
Senior couple spending time together at home

Ease the burden of isolation with volunteer visitors

MANY people are facing tough times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and elderly people have been hit hard.

Due to current restrictions on travel and limited visitation available in nursing homes, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to become an isolated period for elderly Northern Rivers residents.

However, North Coast Community Gateway new program, Community Gateways Community Visitor Scheme, is for elderly people to remain connected to their community during this time.

"The Community Gateways Community Visitor scheme matches volunteers to older people who are at risk of social isolation and approved for a home care package," Jenni Beetson-Mortimer, chief executive officer at NRCG, said.

"We also match volunteer visitors to older residents of aged care facilities where the facility has identified that they would benefit from the social interaction."

The latest information from the Federal Government has identified elderly people as those most at risk from the coronavirus and being urged to maintain minimal contact with other people.

The Community Gateways Community Visitor Scheme uses video call, Skype, Zoom, phone calls or letters to connect elderly people with volunteers.

"During COVID-19 our CVS program facilitates that valuable social connection with a volunteer using social distancing measures with the view of improving the quality of life of the older person and increasing their capacity to cope with the current restrictions," Ms Beetson-Mortimer said.

The initial uptake of the program has received rave reviews from participants in their feedback surveys, who have praised the positive impact of the scheme.

"I like how it gives me the opportunity to connect with someone who is interested in my life, shares common interests, and talks with me about what is going on in the community and their lives," one survey participant said.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the scheme call NRCG's volunteer project officers 02 6621 7397 or 0427 558 126 or email volint@nrcg.org.au or visit their website https://www.nrcg.org.au/.


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