Call for more volunteers to visit residents at Fairview Retirement Village

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: Community Visitor's Scheme coordinator Helen Moy encourages people to volunteer to talk to lonely residents at Fairview Retirement Village.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: Community Visitor's Scheme coordinator Helen Moy encourages people to volunteer to talk to lonely residents at Fairview Retirement Village.

Life can be lonely for many residents in nursing homes, particularly for those who don't have family members nearby.

To combat some of this loneliness and enrich the lives of residents of Fairview Retirement Village, members of the Moree community are being encouraged to consider volunteering with the Community Visitors Scheme.

The Australian government-funded program is run through Centacare New England North West to provide companionship and friendship to socially-isolated people living in aged care homes.

"There are a lot of lonely people in nursing homes and some of them don't have family around," Community Visitors Scheme coordinator for Moree, Warialda and Inverell Helen Moy said.

"Even if they do have family nearby, it's nice to have someone else come and talk to them. There are all types of people who could do with a visit."

There are currently only four volunteers visiting residents at Fairview Retirement Village, which Ms Moy said is not nearly enough for such a large facility, especially as volunteers tend to come and go as their commitments change.

"We need as many volunteers as we can get," she said.

Ms Moy said volunteering isn't a huge commitment and is very flexible, with volunteers able to come any time that suits them.

"It doesn't have to be every week, once a fortnight is fine," she said.

The visits also don't need to be long, as residents tire easily. Some visitors simply stop by to have a chat, some take short walks around the grounds and others even join in on the activities.

Ms Moy herself has been volunteering for more than 10 years and said it not only provides residents with beneficial social interaction, but is very rewarding for the volunteers.

"It is very rewarding for those who would like to visit," she said.

"I visited a lady who didn't have any family for about nine years. She got to be 100. You do get attached to them. Once you start visiting, they open up and talk about all sorts of things. The conversations are very rewarding."

Anyone who wishes to volunteer with the program will be interviewed by Fairview's activities officer to determine which resident they were most compatible with.

"So if someone likes to crochet or garden, they might be matched with a resident with similar interests," Ms Moy said.

Volunteers must be 18 years and over and will need a police check.

For more information or to volunteer, phone Helen Moy on 0417 830 290.