Feeling that we have good social connections is vital for our health, especially as we age. It can be a great comfort to have a person to talk to who is there just for you. Volunteers in Lifeline WA’s Volunteer Visitors Service (VVS) fill that role, reducing loneliness in our local community.
Each VVS volunteer is carefully paired with an older aged person who has reached out to VVS. The match considers each person’s interests, temperaments, personalities, cultural background and location.
The VVS volunteer:
- is a companion, confidant and friend to the older aged person (who lives either in aged care or in their own home)
- visits at least once a fortnight, ideally weekly, for at least 6 months
- increases the older aged person’s involvement in social activities and the community
- spends time together enjoying interests they share with the older aged person
- accepts and doesn’t judge
- may take the older aged person on short outings – for example, for a coffee, drive, meal, or river visit.
Benefits for a VVS volunteer include:
- personal and professional growth
- broadened social network and new experiences, including opportunities to connect with other VVS volunteers
- opportunities to learn new skills
- regular events, rewards and recognition
- giving back to society
- belonging to the Lifeline WA community
- support from Lifeline WA’s dedicated VVS coordinators
- psychological support through Lifeline WA’s Employee Assistance Program and wellbeing team.
The following skills make for a great VVS volunteer:
- empathy for, and understanding of, older aged people – or a desire and willingness to develop this appreciation
- good communication, especially listening skills
- ability to maintain an ongoing friendship with an older aged person and relationship with the VVS program
- reliability and flexibility
- enthusiasm for ongoing learning, including openness to feedback
- following role guidelines, including visit reporting requirements.
Act to improve the social and mental wellbeing of an isolated, older person by becoming a VVS volunteer with Lifeline WA.