Orana Southern Cross Care in Deniliquin is looking for ‘community visitors’ to befriend the facility’s residents who may be at risk of, or experiencing, isolation.
Local people can get involved in this valuable program through the Riverina Community College’s Community Visitors Scheme.
Someone who can attest to the scheme’s benefits is Pauline Edwards.
‘‘I’ve been volunteering at Orana for the past 13 years but only got involved with the Community Visitors Scheme about eight years ago,’’ she said.
‘‘I did so because I love giving back to the community.
‘‘The joy I get from putting smiles on the residents’ faces and making new friends is just fantastic.
‘‘As someone who’s retired, it’s also a good reason to get me out of bed.
‘‘Basically if I were in their shoes I would hope that I’d have someone to come and visit me, so that’s a big factor as to why I became involved.
‘‘I’ve known a lot of the people I visit personally for a while, from when I was younger, and essentially it’s just a case of being there for them.’’
The scheme aims to improve the quality of life of someone living in a care facility, specifically working to improve self-esteem, well-being and connection to the community, as well as avoiding feelings of anxiety, isolation and loneliness.
Pauline volunteers at Orana twice a week, going in to see residents each Monday and Thursday.
‘‘I generally visit two ladies in particular and spend time with them just having a chat,’’ she said.
‘‘You have these close connections to these people and they sort of become your family.
‘‘It’s very rewarding to be able to have a positive effect on the residents, especially to some who don’t get too many visitors.
‘‘I also visit some residents who do have family visit them but don’t necessarily have anyone outside of the family to have that friendship with.’’
If you would like to become a community visitor or to find out more about the scheme, contact the Riverina Community College on 1800000212.