Volunteers of the COTA Visitors program are developing friendships with older people and are promoting the rewarding role to others.
Volunteer Peter Rodgers visits Jack weekly, an older person at risk of loneliness but now loves their mutually strong friendship.
“It all started when I was out to lunch with a friend — he suggested that I volunteer my time to visit others who may be feeling lonely or isolated. I have the time, so I thought, why not?!,” Peter said.
COTA Visitors program pairs friendly volunteers with older people who are at risk of social isolation to maintain an ongoing friendship. They are matched on location and shared interests.
As part of the Australian Government’s Community Visitors Scheme, COTA Visitors targets loneliness which affects 20 percent of South Australians aged 75 and over who can feel especially marginalised and out-of-touch in a modern online and busy world.
“COTA found me Jack, and Jack found me! We sit down together every week and solve the world’s problems! Jack and I are both writers, and with the help of another COTA SA volunteer, we are working on capturing Jack’s life story so he can share it with his grandchildren,” Peter said.
Their ongoing friendship means a lot to both Peter and Jack.
“It’s great for me too — this has taught me that just visiting someone can bring so much joy to both of us,” Peter said.
“It is very, very important, indeed, that Peter comes to visit me; he is a wonderful man and I couldn’t do without him,” Jack added.
The program runs across the Adelaide metro, the Mid North, the Hills, Mallee, and the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Volunteers are particularly needed across metropolitan Adelaide, in particular north-eastern, southern and eastern suburbs. They are also seeking volunteers to support the LGBTIQ community.
As well as English-speaking volunteers, COTA SA is especially seeking Hungarian and Greek speaking volunteers — and even piano players!