“I love working with seniors. They’re all very appreciative of what we are doing,” said Irene Payne, a volunteer with the Seniors Support Program which matches trained volunteers and seniors for visits and social activities once a week.
Payne, a retired RN and mother of three who has long experience volunteering — she started the apple pie sales at Seaton school — often goes swimming with her senior client. Other times, they will go for a walk or out for coffee. Other activities that volunteers and clients do together include going out to a community event, to an activity at a seniors centre, to do errands, or to visit at home. The volunteers don’t do any housekeeping, personal care or anything to do with medication or finances.
“The times together are something I look forward to and so does she,” said Payne. “The training course is very informative and very well presented. Karen does a very good job of teaching and we learned so much. It’s all well worth it.”
Karen Swales, coordinator of volunteer services for the Family Resource Centre, which operates the program, matches the volunteers and clients, who are referred by Interior Health.
“We would really like to see more male volunteers in the program as we have a waiting list and some of the men would like another man to visit with them,” she said. “We like to have a good list of volunteers to make good matches and to allow for relief for holidays. We also need volunteer drivers, who don’t have to do the training.”
Volunteers can also choose to help with a group social and wellness programs, including driving clients to the programs and helping prepare meals. Some volunteers are students who want to work with seniors and others work full-time and see clients at weekends.
“The program is flexible for the volunteers. After all, volunteering should enhance your life, not control or restrict it,” said Swales.
The next training session runs Tuesday mornings April 3 to May 29. Volunteers are encouraged to apply now at www.vernonfrc.ca, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at 250-545-3390.