Loneliness and isolation can be devastating for seniors who find themselves alone in the world. (file photo)

New program seeks to help lonely seniors in Sooke

Volunteers and seniors can call to register for new program

Seniors are some of the loneliest people in society.

More than one million Canadian seniors have reported feeling isolated, according to Statistics Canada.

“The issue of severe isolation is a very real concern,” said Agnes Kossakowska, the coordinator of a new program that aims to connect lonely seniors with community volunteers.

“The impact of this new program can be profound, actually it can fundamentally change a senior citizen’s life.”

The program is the work of the Sooke Region Health Network working in partnership with the Sooke Region Volunteer Centre to recruit and match community volunteers with seniors in need of companionship.

“What we’re doing right now is gathering a list of seniors who need some support or companionship as well as a list of volunteers who are willing to give up a little of their time to bring joy back into the life of an isolated senior,” Kossakowska said.

RELATED: Eat together program battles loneliness

“In both cases, we’ll meet with the people interested in the program to get a sense of who they are, what their interests might be and how much time they either require or are willing to give.”

Once that information is gathered, the program will match the needs of the seniors with the abilities and interests of the volunteers; looking for a perfect long term match that can be the foundation for a long term relationship.

The volunteers’ activities can range from simply checking in with their senior match every so often to regular home visitation. Those friendly visits can involve chatting over tea or coffee, playing board games, helping with computers, watching TV, or just being with one another in companionable silence.

“For some seniors, they have had to give up their pets and what they would really love is a visit from a friend with a friendly furry friend that the volunteer can share with their senior companion. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it can have a real impact on a senior’s life,” Kossakowska said.

Other aspects of the program can involve projects like helping a senior who may have lost their driving privileges to navigate the public transportation system.

“If the senior hasn’t been on a bus for a long time, the idea can be really daunting.”

In short, Kossakowska said, the program’s intent is to create friendships between volunteers and seniors to end the isolation that those seniors may experience.

A senior may withdraw into isolation because of health conditions, depression, or mental illness.

Even simple things like a fear of falling can keep a senior a virtual prisoner in their home as can fatigue, chronic pain, or shame over memory problems.

“No two matches will be the same and the relationships are allowed to grow and adapt as needs change,” Kossakowska said.

Potential volunteers or seniors in need of companionship are invited to contact program administrators at 250-642-6364 or email coordinator@sookeregionvolunteers.org.

“We’ll arrange for interviews for both volunteers and seniors to ensure the safety of both parties. For the volunteers, there’s also a need for a free criminal record check,” she said.

“As well, we’ll be checking in with our matched couples to make sure the program is working for them. We want this to be a positive, life-changing experience for everyone involved.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ten candidates will run in Sooke byelection

A mixture of well known figures mix with newcomers to the field

In the footsteps of Emily Carr

Following in a hero’s footsteps sometimes means filling some pretty big shoes.… Continue reading

Junior A hockey coming to Sooke

Exhibition game helps the Rotary Club to help community youth

Life-Altering experience

Six weeks that served to change their view of the world

Sooke school district creates new comprehensive school health position

Ruchi McArthur will develop framework to improve wellness of students

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read