Students and members of the community have the opportunity to provide befriending and digital story services to older adults living in aged care facilities.
Volunteering is a means to provide companionship and social interaction to aged care residents. Our volunteering services aim to help residents feel valued and acknowledged. Sometimes having someone to reminisce with is the perfect medicine for an elder. Visits involve conversations and companionship with a resident, reminiscing, going for walks and doing other things of mutual interest in order to produce a digital story. Volunteers commit to this program for up to one year.
Visits help older adults feel acknowledged, valued and less isolated. Volunteers feel satisfied about making a difference to another person’s life and can also learn about the operations of aged care facilities. Volunteers become more aware of late-life medical and psychological difficulties and develop basic counselling skills. Volunteers are provided training in communication and interviewing skills, information about psychological issues relevant to older adults, and have regular supervision. Volunteers are treated with respect and appreciation.
Befriending services provide social companionship and support to adults living in residential and retirement communities.
Both volunteers and clients benefit from such visits. For the volunteer, such visits allow for opportunities to learn about historical events and gain competency in communicating with seniors. For the older adults, contact with the younger community provides opportunities to talk about current and past events, share lessons learnt and engage in meaningful and recreational activities.
Befriending services are provided by volunteers who visit the older adults once a week or fortnight.
Digital story services are provided by volunteers who visit older adults over a few months to develop a digital video about a resident’s life. These services are based on the understanding that the telling of one’s story is a means to reaffirm identity, uniqueness and lived experiences.
Sharing life stories can also improve professional carers’ knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of the individual. The videos or storybooks can be presented as gifts or legacy documents to the next generation of family members.