Lois Dutton

Peer counselling opens doors to seniors helping seniors

Volunteer counsellors provide compassionate listening and encouragement

As a realtor for more than 30 years, Lois Dutton learned to listen, counsel and educate both her clients and business associates.

So it’s not surprising that when Dutton sold her business she decided to use her skill set to help others.

Dutton is a peer outreach counsellor – someone who advises others her age – with Senior Peer Counsellors, a program through Victoria-based Seniors Serving Seniors, a referral agency.

Volunteer counsellors provide compassionate listening and encouragement to help people get more in touch with their own feelings, gain a clearer understanding of their situations and difficulties, and make the decisions necessary to solve their own problems.

“We try and lead people to see if there is a way out of whatever situation they’re in,” Dutton said of the seniors she counsels.

The peer counselling program began 26 years ago and sees an average of 50 clients a year.

All counsellors take an intensive four-month training program. Counsellors range in age from 50 to 80.

Each counsellor handles about one to two clients. They meet once a week for about a one-hour session, usually at the client’s home.

There is a broad range of issues clients will bring to a counselling session from grieving to financial.

Oftentimes all a client needs are three or four sessions. Others need a longer commitment.

“Sometimes the counselling is like peeling an onion,” Dutton said. “There are layers and layers and we need to look at many issues.”

Dutton has been a volunteer counsellor with Senior Peer Counsellors for two years, after stints in similar roles in other organizations. Along with her counselling duties she also interviews potential clients with a suitable counsellor.

“It’s not easy [being a counsellor], but it’s very rewarding,” Dutton said.

“I think seeing the progress that clients can make is its own reward – seeing them being much more comfortable than they originally were than when we first met them.”

 

Are you a good listener?

Senior Peer Counsellors is seeking candidates for this fall’s training session.

The training sessions run from September to December.

Counselling is a rewarding experience, said veteran counsellor Lois Dutton.

To find out more, please call Seniors Serving Seniors at 250-382-4331 or go online to seniorsservingseniors.bc.ca.

Just Posted

Sooke school district creates new comprehensive school health position

Ruchi McArthur will develop framework to improve wellness of students

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

Westhills Stadium launches expanded stadium with ceremony, excitement

expanded stadium accommodates 6,000 spectators

NCAA basketball comes to UVic this fall

Eight-team tournament features top university women’s basketball teams Nov. 28-30

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and stand-up guy at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Most Read