TeleChat to motivate community connections
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.