The power of friendship

  28 April 2021  Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre

It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, what we all have in common is the need to have a sense of belonging and connection.

As we get older, it becomes more challenging to stay connected; however, it remains critical, and connection plays an essential role in our emotional and physical health. Maintaining friendships and having a visitor to look forward to, helps older people stay connected, valued and important in the community.

The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) has been running since 1992 and is funded by the Australian Government. Organisations across Australia are funded to manage the program and match volunteer visitors to older people either approved and waitlisted or receiving a home care package or those living in an aged care home.

Each volunteer visitor is carefully matched to an older person and visits on a regular basis, weekly or fortnightly and enjoys the simple things in life – a cuppa together, a walk in the park, watching tv together – and for many older people, the volunteer visitor provides much needed companionship and opportunities for outings, a chat and companionship.

So often, older people in the community can feel invisible. This program reminds us all that our older people are of utmost importance and deserve in their twilight years to continue to feel like they belong.

“As we age, we can feel that we have less value in the community however that is not true,” said Esis Tawfik, CVS State Network Member ACT, NSW and VIC.

“We can learn so much from our older people and ensure they continue to be acknowledged in our community. Befriending an older person will also enrich the lives of the volunteers visitors. Many of our volunteer visitors include their young children in the visits or their pets.”

Referrals for the program are free of charge and can be submitted either as self-referrals, from family or friends, health professionals or aged care providers.

For further information on how to submit a referral or to volunteer contact Esis Tawfik, CVS State Network Member ACT, NSW and VIC on cvs@smrc.org.au or 0421 330 230.

More information is available on the Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre website.