Isolation can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and cognitive ability. Depression has been linked to cognitive impairment and dementia later in life. As a result of cognitive limitations and social isolation, people may become depressed, and depression may itself be a risk factor for dementia development. Senior citizens, like everyone else, appreciate company. Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia, fortunately, has a welcoming friendly visitor program that allows our seniors to regularly have some positive social interaction and support.
Details On The Friendly Visitor Program
Our friendly visitor program is meant to provide seniors with companionship at least once or twice a week. This can include things like:
- Getting together for a dinner
- Reading to the senior
- Playing a game
- Assisting with simple tasks such as cleaning or trash collection
- Assisting with errands such as grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and other comparable tasks
- Going to church, the salon, or to see friends or neighbors
- Any additional activity that the senior might find enjoyable
Each week, friendly visitors offer beneficial social contact to their senior through a visit or a phone conversation. They enjoy doing things together that are both enjoyable and beneficial. If the weather is terrible, people might sit and talk, play cards or board games, look through images, read aloud, knit or crochet. It is also excellent for seniors to get out of the house. Walking, dining out, visiting garage sales, gardening, taking a scenic drive, or going to the library are some of the things that more mobile seniors enjoy doing outside the home. A volunteer visitor and a senior plan everything together.
Friendly Visitors keep in touch with their senior via phone conversations, which often brings joy to them, especially when they are unable to visit in person. Friendly Visitors are invaluable to seniors. They are kind and caring, provide listening ears, and they are supportive friends – all bundled into one.
The Advantages Of Friendly Visits
According to research, elderly individuals who do not have the opportunity to engage with others on a regular basis are more likely to have physical and mental health problems. As a result, it’s critical that elders have this opportunity. Volunteers who visit a senior can take advantage of this opportunity and benefit from their experiences. They may learn that they have similar interests to the senior and create a lasting friendship.
On both a practical and personal level, all of these services can make a significant impact in an elderly person’s life. This is particularly true for seniors who have serious physical or mental health issues. Visitors can assist seniors in these situations by reminding them of appointments or reminding them to take medication, if necessary.
What Skills Are Needed?
This program does not require any advanced abilities; all that is required is a desire to help and be a true friend to a senior! However, knowing a second language (e.g Spanish or American Sign Language) can be advantageous. It can also be useful if you have previously cared for an elderly person (e.g., a family member or acquaintance). The most crucial thing is that you show up for the senior on a regular basis and that you are a good “fit” for them. Just keep in mind that this is a long-term commitment (at least a few months), despite the fact that the hours are flexible and based on your and your senior’s schedules.
Are You Eligible to Participate in a Friendly Visitor Program?
- Are you an older or disabled adult who is at least 18 years old?
- Do you have a lack of or insufficient social support?
- Are you elderly or confined to your home?
- Are you interested in taking part in our program?
Many of our volunteers are seniors themselves, bringing with them a warmth and compassion that comes from years of experience and insight. Depending on the needs of each senior and the gifts and talents of each volunteer, Friendly Visitor volunteers can provide a variety of services.
There are not many eligibility requirements to participate in a Friendly Visitor Program. Whether you are looking for a friend for an elderly loved one or are simply looking to volunteer yourself, we would love to have you as part of the program!
Today Is The Day To Become A Welcoming Visitor
For more information about our Friendly Visitor Program, speak with the professionals at Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia (SCNOVA). We have been assisting seniors aged 50 and over to enhance their quality of life since 1998. We have over 250 vetted and trained volunteers who are dedicated to assisting seniors in whatever way they can, including reducing loneliness and isolation. To learn more about our Friendly Visitor Program, call SCNOVA at (703) 260-9568 or send us an email today for all the details you need to get started making a difference in the life of an elderly individual.