New service gives elderly someone to talk to weekly
ALPINE Independent Aged Care Advocacy Service has partnered with Red Cross to provide regular contact to people who have little or no social connection with others.
TeleChat provides weekly phone calls between people over the age of 65 and a volunteer caller, giving a measure of support, friendship and social interaction.
The initiative will be launched in Bright next Monday at the Senior Citizens Centre in Cobden Street at 1pm with the Commissioner for Senior Victorians Mr Gerard Mansour attending to talk about the importance of working towards an age friendly and inclusive Victoria for all seniors.
Alpine Health Community participation officer Kate Duff said Alpine TeleChat is a free service for people who may be older or live alone, have a disability, are housebound or are carers or who have limited social connections in the community.
“Friendly volunteers call participants at an agreed time, generally once a week, to share conversation,” she said.
“Participants are matched with volunteers based on their mutual interests, hobbies and availability.
“The regular call provides the older person with ongoing social connection and a link to the community with the aim to enhance the connections of socially isolated people.
“Over time it is expected that the participants may feel more able to develop greater connections with their community.”
People can refer themselves or be referred by a relative, friend, health professional or community service provider.
In 2013, Price Waterhouse Coopers evaluated the Red Cross TeleChat and found that it effectively reduces social isolation of participants and allows them to connect with others.
For a substantial number of participants it also increased their confidence and capacity to communicate with other people.
Alpine Independent Aged Care Advocacy Service president Terri Hopper said that being volunteer caller is rewarding and enriching experience.
“You will be making a real positive difference in the life of someone who could otherwise be quite socially isolated,” she said.
“You will also make a new friend, who you will hopefully share a deep personal connection with.
“Participants really enjoy hearing from their caller and you might learn a lot from your new friend.”
“The Alpine Independent Aged care Advocacy Service is currently looking for more male volunteers who feel they would enjoy communicating with a participant and who can commit the time to make contact with that person at least once a week.
“Volunteers are required to attend a three hour training session to prepare for the volunteer caller role,” she said.
“The training shall include information about the program, the client group and issues they face along with practical information about undertaking the role.
If this is something you would like to be involved in please contact Kate Duff at Alpine Health on 5755 0131 for further information.
NEW PARTNERSHIP: Alpine Advocates Margaret Hartley (left) and Terri Hopper (right) pictured with Red Cross representatives Narelle Smith and Lauren Carroll are excited to launch Alpine TeleChat.