SENIORS’ HEALTH: Give back to community by lending others a hand

Many volunteer opportunities at Seniors Come Share Society

The Seniors Health Network each month poses a question to health-care professionals. This month, Lucie Neliba – the Peers Reaching Out (PRO) co-ordinator at Seniors Come Share Society in South Surrey – was asked:

“I am 72 years old and have just moved here from Ontario to be closer to my kids. I want to support my new community and I still drive so are there volunteer opportunities in this area?”

This is a great question! We have many volunteer opportunities at Seniors Come Share Society.

For over 40 years, Seniors Come Share Society has been dedicated to providing older adults and their families with the services, programs, and resources necessary to remain educated, engaged and, most importantly, empowered members of our community.

It also relies on the amazing contribution of our dedicated volunteers.

If you are looking for a more supportive and proactive role in an older adult’s life, then consider becoming a Peer Support volunteer with the Peers Reaching Out (PRO) program.

PRO is funded by the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation and helps older adults in South Surrey and White Rock build community connections while minimizing isolation.

Participants in the PRO program establish goals that utilize the participant’s existing strengths and resources to develop a sense of community in their lives. Goals may include learning how to use HandyDart, attending a meal program, filling out government forms or participating in a recreational activity.

A peer support volunteer supports the program participant as they work on their goals for an average of eight weeks, anywhere from two to six hours per week. Peer volunteers receive 20 hours of free training and engage in topics like active communication, empathy, boundaries, listening skills, community resources and more.

As one of our peer volunteers says, “PRO is unique from other programs because it offers a one-on-one experience in which participants gain confidence and reach into themselves, knowing that they are capable of doing things and they just need a little nudge.”

To help an older adult stay socially engaged, I recommend the Better at Home Friendly Visiting and Telephone Tree Programs. As a friendly visitor, you would visit with a client once a week for about an hour to chat about their interests, play cards or go for a walk. It is a simple and effective way to keep an older adult engaged, especially if they are no longer able to leave their home.

Telephone tree volunteers are similar but engage with clients through check-ins over the phone, right from our office.

If you are comfortable with technology, you may be a great fit for our Tech Buddies, a program that offers basic tech tutorials, which also includes lessons on iPads, tablets, computers, laptops, smartphones and overall features of social media.

We are also always in need of volunteers that want to help at events like our caregiver cafes, meal programs and coffee socials.

We even have Senior Connector volunteers at various recreation centers, who distribute valuable information and resource materials. All our roles are flexible, and any amount of time you can offer is appreciated.

As one of our clients says, “The volunteer helped me gain knowledge on all that is available for me. I had no idea. I am more confident in asking for help!”

If you want to learn more about the PRO Program, please contact Lucie at 604-531-9400 ext. 205. For all our other volunteering roles, please contact Rae at 604-531-9400 ext. 203. We look forward to hearing from you!

The South Surrey White Rock Seniors Health Network is a coalition of seniors service providers working under the auspices of the Mayor of White Rock’s office. For information on community resources, visit sswr.fetchbc.ca. If you have a question for publication, please email seniorshealthnetworksswr@gmail.com

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