A friendly visit can make all the difference for a lonely senior

Ruth was an active and happy older adult. She and her husband Samuel had no children, but lived a fulfilling life with each other. They enjoyed attending senior exercise classes, taking long walks through their neighborhood and cooking meals together. But when Samuel passed away, Ruth felt depressed and completely alone. She became withdrawn and would spend days in her home without any interaction with others.

For seniors who live alone, a lack of socialization and interaction can lead to mental and physical health problems, but these problems can be easily improved by enjoying a friendly visit. AgeWell Visits, a new companion program of the AgeWell Rides senior transportation program, connects seniors to volunteers for friendly visits in their home to help them stay connected in the community.

Volunteer visitors chat with seniors, help with small household projects such as watering plants, play games like Scrabble or cards, cook or bake together–or any number of shared activities that will help brighten a senior’s day. For seniors who may not feel comfortable hosting a visitor in their home or for volunteers who are unable to commit to an in-person visit, phone calls are an alternative way of helping seniors socialize with community members.

When Ruth read about JF&CS’s new AgeWell Visits program in a community newsletter, she thought it might be nice to have someone to talk to after months of living such a lonely life. Ruth was connected with a volunteer visitor who shared her love of cooking and soon, they were trading recipes! Ruth looked forward to their weekly visits, and even began attending senior exercise classes again with the gentle encouragement from her new friend.

Currently, AgeWell Visits is in need of volunteers who are looking for an easy and rewarding way to make a difference in a senior’s life. AgeWell Visits accepts volunteers of all ages and life experiences, including children (with parental supervision), students (in pairs), young professionals and retirees. Through volunteering, you can become a part of AgeWell Visits and help older adults stay connected with the community.

AgeWell Visits requires volunteers to participate in a one-hour orientation and pass a criminal background check. The program offers flexible schedules.

For more information about AgeWell Visits, click here. To learn more about enrolling in AgeWell Visits or to become a volunteer visitor, contact Ellen Leger at 412-422-0400 or email agewellvisits@jfcspgh.org.

This entry was posted in Elder Care, Jewish Family & Children's Service, JF&CS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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