A Seniors Serving Seniors volunteer, Grace Yuen, shares a cup of coffee with Victoria senior “PJ.” (File Submitted/ Julie Gray)

More volunteers needed to aid seniors coming out of hospital

Seniors Serving Seniors recruits volunteers for its ‘Return to Health’ program

Seniors coming out of hospital often need assistance with their recovery, and many of them have no one to turn to.

“Case workers and health professionals are always on the lookout for very vulnerable seniors; those who have no one to help them when they’ve gotten out of hospital,” said Julie Gray, executive director of Seniors Serving Seniors, a volunteer support program. “Often they are people who were very isolated, but no one knew about them until something happened.”

That’s where volunteers step in to help ensure a positive recovery, and to shrink the likelihood that they will be re-hospitalized.

As of late, however, Seniors Serving Seniors is running short on hands after a series of illnesses and falls within their own pool of volunteers.

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“We are quite desperate in our Return to Health program,” Gray said.

For this program volunteers can help with an array of duties –besides medical requirements– including driving people to follow-up appointments, helping seniors go through mail, arranging for Sendial grocery delivery, setting up HandyDart pick-ups, or even just having a cup of tea.

Gray said that besides the physical health benefits this help can offer, volunteers also see seniors reconnecting socially with other people

“They find it an incredibly great thing to see someone not only come out with their health better, but come out better overall at the end of it,” Gray said.

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Volunteers get three, three-hour training sessions before heading to work and are expected to make one visit per week with their assigned senior, as well as a phone call. An additional educational workshop and support group also occurs once a month for volunteers. More often than not seniors are feeling better after a month and may not need more service.

While the organizing group is called Seniors Serving Seniors, there’s no age requirement for anyone interested in volunteering.

Gray said that driving licences are not required, and that interested people only need to be empathetic and enjoy working with people.

The next training sessions runs on May 1, 2 and 3.

Anyone interested in learning more can contact Julie Gray at 250-413-3211 or email info@seniorsservingseniors.bc.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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