Vol­un­teers needed to help el­derly

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHANDRA

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.

TORIKA TOKALAU/ FAIRFAX NZ

Kris­ten Pickles, left, with Doris Ge­or­gette Cameron and four-month-old Amelia.

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