Friends sought for seniors program

January 9, 2024 BY

Mates: Marlene Rothwell and Linda Gardner have formed a friendship through In Great Company. Photo: SUPPLIED

A NATION-wide scheme that seeks to provide support and social connection to isolated seniors is looking for more volunteers.

Known as In Great Company, the program links adult volunteers with seniors with the aim of creating new friendships.

“It is designed to connect seniors who are at risk of social isolation or loneliness with friendly visitor volunteers to strike up natural friendships,” said Alison Saito, team leader of volunteer coordinators at In Great Company.

“It has to be a natural connection, so it shouldn’t be that the volunteer feels like they have to spend time with this person.”

In Great Company is funded by the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme and is a free service.

Ms Saito said the organisation aims to help the volunteer and client strike up a true friendship.

“It should be as if they’re your friend and it should be mutually beneficial because we want to establish long term friendships,” she said.

Volunteers receive ongoing support from the organisation while they are participating in the program.

“We do interviews, tell them about the program and give them training of what to do in an emergency,” said Ms Saito.

“We also provide online support if there’s anything the volunteers want to talk about.”

Ms Saito said that volunteers see dramatic changes in the clients’ lives.

“I would say the most notable change is in people’s demeanour as they’ve come from a very depressed state,” she said.

“One of the volunteers said when she met her client, he couldn’t walk 800 meters and know he can walk three or four kilometres.”

To get involved with the program visit ingreatcompany.com.au.