COTA Visitors: Creating valuable connections

COTA SA's Visitors program is calling for more volunteers to join the initiative. The program aims to help create valuable and rewarding connections, by pairing friendly volunteers with older people who live alone and are at risk of loneliness or social isolation.

Recently recruited volunteer Shervin Shokri visits Lorraine fortnightly, an older person at risk of loneliness, and loves their mutually strong friendship.

“I am studying Healthcare Management and felt I would like to support the community. I searched online and found this volunteer opportunity. I contacted a few providers and COTA SA got back to me immediately and helped me start my volunteering,” Shervin said.

As part of the Australian Government’s Aged Care Volunteer 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.

People are matched through the program based on location and shared interests, making it easier to maintain an ongoing friendship and provide valuable company to those who need it most.

“I was scared at the start. I felt like I was going on a blind date. Yet when Lorraine opened the door, I felt I was at the home of a relative I have known for years. She made me feel so comfortable by warmly welcoming me. She made me tea, talked about her family and we shared our life stories. At the end of the first session, I was so happy that I could overcome my fears and signed up for this program,” Shervin said.

This blossoming relationship has meant a great deal for Shervin who has found much inspiration in her visits with Lorraine.

“Lorraine has taught me a lot and has encouraged me to be courageous and stick to my values. My relationship with Lorraine has shown me that the younger generation can benefit a lot from the care, energy, and wisdom of the older generation”, Shervin said.

Volunteers are needed across metropolitan Adelaide. They are also seeking volunteers to support the LGBTI+ community.

“I was waiting a while to be matched and I forgot all about it. I was pleased when I was contacted by COTA SA and very happy to have Shervin visit”, concluded Lorraine.

The program runs across the Adelaide metro, the Hills, Mallee, and the Fleurieu Peninsula. As well as English-speaking volunteers, COTA SA is especially seeking Hungarian and Greek speaking volunteers.

Become a COTA Visitor today

Everyone needs connections, conversations and shared experiences. If you have one hour a week or fortnight and you are ready to build a trusted friendship with an older person, become a COTA Visitor volunteer today. Opportunities are available across all areas of Adelaide and South Australia.



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