Volunteers of the COTA Visitors program are developing friendships with older people and are promoting their rewarding role to others.
Newly recruited volunteer Shervin Shokri visits Lorraine fortnightly 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.
The COTA Visitors program pairs 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 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.
“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.
"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.
“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.
Volunteers are needed across metropolitan Adelaide. We are also seeking volunteers to support the LGBTI+ community.
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.