Volunteers needed to help elderly
Two women and a baby have struck up an unlikely friendship through a volunteering programme.
Mt Roskill resident Doris Georgette Cameron, 93, was paired with 35-year-old Kristen Pickles through the Age Concern volunteering programme.
Age Concern is a charity organisation dedicated solely to people over the age of 65.
It provides advice and know- ledge of public services to senior citizens and pairs clients with younger volunteers through its visiting service.
Senior citizens are often referred visiting service by a local health board, general practitioner or home care provider to help with feelings of isolation or loneliness.
Pickles and Cameron’s friendship began more than a year ago, shortly after Pickles got married.
Since then, their weekly visits have become a normal part of their routine and Pickles’ fourmonth-old daughter Amelia even joins in too.
They enjoy chats over cups of tea, drives to the local cafe and have both have benefited from their hour-long catch ups.
‘‘I’ve learnt a lot from Doris and enjoy her stories, she’s got great stories,’’ Pickles said.
‘‘There must be a lot of people in the community that don’t have family or close friends alone and get very lonely without someone to talk to.
‘‘It’s nice having a friend that’s from a different age group. It’s great for Doris but I’ve also gained a lot too from this experience.
Cameron said she treasures the visits from Pickles and Amelia.
Since January, 29 volunteers have been matched with senior citizens through Age Concern’s visiting service in central and west Auckland.
The matches are determined by geography, personality, suit- ability and interest.
Age Concern’s Jenny Barker said it still had 55 clients without volunteers.
‘‘Every week we see the benefits of a volunteer popping in to see their friend for a chat, a cuppa or a short walk in the sunshine. The benefits are immeasurable but undeniable, as a bonus in an older person’s life,’’ Barker said.
For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit the Age Concern Auckland website.
Kristen Pickles, left, with Doris Georgette Cameron and four-month-old Amelia.