TeleChat to mo­ti­vate com­mu­nity con­nec­tions

Myrtleford Times - - News -

NEW SER­VICE: Ger­ard Man­sour, Lau­ren Car­rol, Terri Hop­per and Fay Grey, spoke about the im­por­tance of older peo­ple hav­ing so­cial in­ter­ac­tion with oth­ers, at the re­cent launch of Alpine TeleChat.

ALPINE TeleChat is ready to be rolled out in the Alpine Shire af­ter a suc­cess­ful in­tro­duc­tion to the com­mu­nity late last month.

More than 50 at­tended the launch at Bright Se­nior Cit­i­zens’ Cen­tre on Septem­ber 25 to hear about the ser­vice that will pro­vide weekly phone calls to peo­ple over the age of 65 who have lit­tle or no so­cial con­nec­tion with oth­ers.

An ini­tia­tive set up by Red Cross, it will be run by the Alpine In­de­pen­dent Aged Care Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice with 24 vol­un­teers cur­rently trained to pro­vide sup­port, friend­ship and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion over the phone.

Com­mis­sioner for Se­nior Vic­to­ri­ans Ger­ard Man­sou said at the pro­grams launch, that keep­ing vul­ner­a­ble Vic­to­ri­ans en­gaged and con­nected was ex­tremely im­por­tant for their health.

“I be­lieve this ser­vice to be run by the Alpine In­de­pen­dent Aged Care Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice will mo­ti­vate par­tic­i­pants to con­nect with their lo­cal com­mu­nity,” she said.

“So­cial iso­la­tion can have se­vere im­pacts on peo­ple’s phys­i­cal, emo­tional and men­tal health which can lead to long term chronic poor health and well­be­ing.”

Lau­ren Car­roll, team leader of the Vic­to­rian So­cial Con­nec­tions team at Red Cross, said the Alpine ad­vo­cate vol­un­teers were best placed to know who may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so­cial iso­la­tion.

“The ad­vo­cates sought a pro­gram they could run to help peo­ple to main­tain con­nec­tions and hope­fully aid older peo­ple to stay liv­ing in­de­pen­dently for longer,” she said.

In 2016 the Alpine In­de­pen­dent Aged Care Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice em­barked on help­ing the Aged Care Assess­ment Ser­vice to bet­ter un­der­stand how 300 older peo­ple at that time, were cop­ing while on the wait­ing list for a home care pack­age.

Alpine In­de­pen­dent Aged Care Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice pres­i­dent Terri Hop­per said the group in­ter­viewed 167 older peo­ple across the Hume Re­gion by phone and dis­cov­ered that many felt iso­lated, lonely, and sad.

“This un­der­stand­ing led to the part­ner­ship with the Red Cross to­day,” she said.

“We’re de­lighted to have 24 com­mu­nity mem­bers from across the shire trained and ready to pro­vide reg­u­lar weekly phone con­tact to peo­ple over the age of 65.

“We hope peo­ple that are lonely and feel­ing so­cial iso­lated will sign up to the ser­vice and con­nect with our vol­un­teers and the wider com­mu­nity.”

Mrs Hop­per said to make a re­fer­ral peo­ple can call 0420 824 814 or email alpinet­elechat@gmail.com.

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