South Taranaki Star

Volunteer visitors sought

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Age Concern is a charitable organisati­on dedicated solely to people over 65. Its mission is to promote the dignity, wellbeing, equity and respect of our elderly community, and provide expert informatio­n and support services in response to older people’s needs.

Thankfully, most older people are not severely lonely, but findings from the Social Report 2016 showed that 10 per cent of New Zealanders aged 65-74 and 13 per cent of those aged over 75 feel lonely all, most, or some of the time.

We know social connection is so important though; research has found that having inadequate social relationsh­ips can be as bad for health as smoking, and that loneliness is linked to an increased likelihood of entering rest home care. This is why Volunteer Accredited Visitors and the time they dedicate to older people is so valuable.

Age Concern Taranaki is looking for caring volunteers who can commit to visiting an older person regularly, usually requiring 1-2 hours per week.

The Accredited Visiting Service co-ordinator will match a volunteer with an older person who shares similar interests, who they can share stories or do activities with, while enjoying each other’s company. Current volunteers have said that they enjoy the opportunit­y to get to know their older person, and that they benefit and learn from the experience too.

This role involves face-to-face visits and can currently still go ahead in traffic lights red or orange, with the understand­ing that if you or your older person feel uncomforta­ble with in-person visiting, you may switch to phone calls or Zoom/Facetime communicat­ion (depending on the recipient’s ability).

The protocol for in-person visits is that you wear a mask, social distance preferably by 2 metres, have good ventilatio­n wherever possible, and ensure hands are sanitised before and after visits. And, of course, do not visit if you are unwell. This is dependent on the government requiremen­ts at the time and you will be promptly informed if anything changes.

Volunteers will need to undergo an interview and police vetting (which can take up to six weeks) so we are seeking registrati­ons of interest now. For your protection and that of the recipients, this role requires that volunteers MUST have a vaccine pass.

Following an interview and police check, if you are accepted to the service, you will be given orientatio­n training and then matched with an older person. Once you have visited for six months, you will receive your visitor accreditat­ion.

If you have a warm and friendly manner and enjoy spending time with older people, please contact Wendy at Volunteeri­ng New Plymouth on (06) 7588-986, email admin@volunteeri­ngnewplymo­uth. nz or phone/text 022 571 4228 so she can register your interest to help.

Call today to join the local volunteer visitor team and make a real difference in someone’s life.

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 ?? MARK DWYER ?? Port Taranaki marine engineerin­g manager Grant Squire retires after 46 years at the port.
MARK DWYER Port Taranaki marine engineerin­g manager Grant Squire retires after 46 years at the port.
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