Aged Care

Kingston bolsters aged care through new volunteering initiative

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Kingston has unveiled Social Links, a new initiative focused on curbing social isolation by matching volunteers with older residents to support community participation.

Activities range from going out for a bite or a cuppa, taking a walk along the beach, or attending a class at the local community centre, with the scope only dependent on the client’s interests and mobility. Importantly, Social Links fosters consistent and meaningful contact between the client and the volunteer.

For Kingston Mayor Jenna Davey-Burns, fostering meaningful human connections for at-risk elderly can have profound mental health benefits. “We know the devastating impacts of social isolation, particularly for our seniors who live alone or are the primary carer for a loved one,” she said. “Through Social Links we are working to help people re-engage in our wonderful community.”

Cr Davey-Burns positioned Social Links as expanding Council’s ambition to help seniors “feel valued, supported and connected” especially after the pandemic disruption. The successful program aligns with findings from AccessCare’s latest customer satisfaction survey, which is sent to every Home Care Package client.

The Council-run aged care provider reported 98.6% of clients said they “can trust” AccessCare, with 94.9% agreeing services help them optimise quality of life.

Councillor Steve Staikos reinforced the Council’s steadfast aged care commitment amidst reforms, as Kingston stands apart as Victoria’s largest council-operated provider.

“We remain dedicated to providing home care services for our community, a service our clients rely on for their quality of life,” Cr Staikos affirmed.

Having empowered independent living for nearly 30 years, AccessCare currently assists over 6,000 locals via services like delivered meals, domestic assistance, community transport and home maintenance.

The announcement comes as councils statewide withdraw from aged care delivery despite surging demand from Australia’s rapidly ageing population.

In positioning Kingston as a leader within the sector, Cr Davey-Burns said meeting needs and enabling ageing with dignity remains an “absolute duty.”

AccessCare is actively seeking volunteers to join the Social Links initiative. Anyone interested in finding out more is encouraged to reach out to Belinda Huggins, AccessCare’s volunteer coordinator, at belinda.huggins@kingston.vic.gov.au.

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