AMCS Volunteer Visiting Programs vital for seniors in isolation
Seniors are at risk of social isolation because of living alone, losing family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing or vision loss.
“The lockdowns have increased loneliness for many senior Victorians, particularly for those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds,” Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS) CEO Elizabeth Drozd says. “Melbourne’s second lockdown lasted 111 days, restricting face-to-face social support for clients. Our organisation was able to maintain contact with seniors by calling via phone, hosting sessions online and mailing contact for extremely isolated clients.”
AMCS match older adults and volunteers with a shared cultural background, hobbies and interests through three different programs:
- Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Home Care — fortnightly companionship support for seniors waiting for or receiving a Home Care Package, including companionship or activities, phone or virtual contact, or email and mail exchange.
- Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Residential — fortnightly companionship support for seniors who live in an aged care facility, including companionship, activities, phone and virtual contact, or email and mail exchange.
- Social Support Individual (SSI) — weekly one-on-one social support for clients, including companionship, activities like shopping, paying bills, attendance at appointments, or phone and virtual contact. You must be living at home and not be receiving a Home Care Package, and have a referral through My Aged Care.
Often, seniors and volunteers end up forming a special friendship and organise fun activities together.
AMCS Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Home Care client Aven Hodgess loves art and painting. Volunteer visitor Claudia Perez accompanied her to the National Gallery of Victoria. Aven was full of knowledge about the artworks.
“We try to do something different every time we’re together. Time always flies between us. This amazing experience allows me to learn from older people,” Ms Perez says.
How do I request a volunteer visitor?
Please contact the AMCS Volunteer Coordinators on email@example.com or AMCS reception at (03) 9689 9190.
How do I become a volunteer visitor for seniors in isolation?
We always need more volunteers, especially those who speak other languages.
AMCS volunteers receive a comprehensive induction, regular training and ongoing support from Volunteer Coordinators.
All of the above caters for client’s needs, abilities and interest, and is free of charge.
AMCS currently has 226 clients from 42 countries of birth and speaking 23 languages. The organisation consists of 169 Volunteers from 52 countries of birth, speaking 34 languages.
To join our team of dedicated volunteers, please visit the AMC Services website.
Note: Content has been edited for style and length.