Sup­port­Link ser­vice in­valu­able

Central Otago Mirror - - AGING GRACEFULLY -

For Anne Bea­dle, hav­ing a weekly visit from a Sup­port­Link vol­un­teer makes the world of dif­fer­ence. Whether it’s get­ting to ap­point­ments, help with gro­cery shop­ping, vis­it­ing friends or sim­ply hav­ing a cuppa and chat, Ann Bea­dle thor­oughly looks for­ward to her weekly visit from her Sup­port­Link vol­un­teer.

For Anne it makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

‘‘It re­ally gives me that peace of mind, that at a cer­tain time and day once a week some­one will be with you, for com­pany, kind­ness, a laugh and a chat – it is won­der­ful,’’ she says.

Anne was in­tro­duced to the Sup­port­Link ser­vice, which matches vol­un­teers with el­derly res­i­dents in the com­mu­nity, through Sup­port­Link Wakatipu Co­or­di­na­tor Elaine Wells.

Vol­un­teers are there on a weekly ba­sis to as­sist el­derly clients with a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties or tasks.

Anne’s cur­rent vol­un­teer, Su­san Mor­ri­son – orig­i­nally from Ari­zona – has been vol­un­teer­ing with the ser­vice for six years and over that time has been matched with a num­ber of clients.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had a high re­gard and re­spect for the se­nior com­mu­nity, I just think that com­mu­nity can of­fer so much in ed­u­cat­ing all of us, and I was very close to my grand­par­ents,’’ she said.

‘‘So I wanted to do some­thing to help. I’ve learnt so much about the area and the his­tory – I think it’s more of a win sit­u­a­tion for me than it is for Anne!’’

It’s likely Anne would dis­agree with that – she ea­gerly an­tic­i­pates each Wed­nes­day and has the af­ter­noon planned out each week.

More than be­ing a ser­vice that al­lows Anne to get tasks done, it also pro­vides valu­able com­pany and also peace of mind. The pair also visit Anne’s late hus­band’s gravesite at the lo­cal ceme­tery once a fort­night, bring­ing flow­ers.

‘‘My friend checks some of my let­ters, cards, or cheques that I have writ­ten are the right amount. I gen­er­ally seal the en­velopes then won­der if I’ve done the right thing, so it is a great help they give me,’’ she says.

Elaine says the Sup­port­Link ser­vice is in­valu­able to a large num­ber of clients; many of whom say they sim­ply couldn’t stay in their own homes with­out it.

Vol­un­teers were sub­ject to a thor­ough screen­ing process, which in­cluded po­lice checks, she said.

DThe Sup­port­Link ser­vice op­er­ates in Wakatipu, In­ver­cargill and Gore.

Along with match­ing trained vol­un­teers with older peo­ple liv­ing in their own home with a range of as­sis­tance, there are also monthly cof­fee groups and trans­port can be pro­vided to these.

New vol­un­teers for the Sup­port­Link ser­vice are al­ways wel­come.

Visit www.en­livensld.nz to find out more.

Tes­ti­mo­nial

If your fam­ily are far away, hav­ing peace of mind that at a cer­tain time and day once a week some­one will be with you, for com­pany, kind­ness, a laugh and a chat – it is won­der­ful.

They also are a great help, tak­ing me to the den­tist, doc­tor and hair ap­point­ments, help­ing me get my gro­ceries once a week and put­ting them away in the kitchen, vis­it­ing friends in hos­pi­tal, go­ing to the ceme­tery once a fort­night and do­ing the flow­ers there, check­ing some of my let­ters, cards, or cheques that I have writ­ten are the right amount. I gen­er­ally seal the en­velopes then won­der if I’ve done the right thing, so it is a great help they give me.

They are al­ways with me when out as I get dizzy a lit­tle at times. Check toi­lets in case they are the com­puter kind – that’s no good for me.

In the win­ter months, af­ter shop­ping we get home early and maybe ring up the fish and chip shop and order some – they have gluten free at the shop we go to. My friend will go and pick them up and some­times we just sit and chat and try to put the world right.

We sort stamps for the church, knit, or chat about what we are go­ing to do the next week. Maybe a lovely drive.

I thank God for be­ing so lucky; to have a very good, kind friend, my helper.

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