The Department of Social Services funds the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) which is a national program to enrich the quality of life of Italian elderly living in residential aged care facilities as well as clients who are on a Home Care Package. Clients who are socially isolated or lonely benefit immensely from a friendly visitor. Our “Adopt a Nonna or Nonno” program helps to establish links between people living in residential aged care facilities or in their own home to better connect with young people in their local community.
A community visitor is a volunteer who is matched with the resident or Home Care Package client and visits them once a fortnight for 40 weeks. Visits can include:
- reading or playing cards
- listening to music or visiting the garden
- chatting and reminiscing
- watching TV together or looking at photo albums
- walking together or speaking another language together
The “Adopt a Nonna or Nonno” (CVS) program still remains the only source of contact with the wider community for many Italian residents living in residential aged care homes. The program provides companionship to people who live in residential care facilities, who have been identified as being at risk of becoming socially isolated. These residents would be at a greater disadvantage if the “Adopt a Nonno or Nonno” program did not offer the social, emotional and spiritual support through its CVS volunteers.
There have been many observable benefits of the “Adopt a Nonna or Nonno” program such as:
- Greatly reduced social, linguistic and cultural isolation on admission into an Aged Care Facility for Italian CALD elderly.
- Increased social and recreational contact for frail people still living at home and who through ill health or mobility issues have become isolated and lonely
- Continued interaction with the wider Italian community;
- Heightened awareness of CALD social needs in aged care homes and role CVS Volunteer plays in meeting these social needs
Observable benefits for the volunteers have been the:
- Ability to provide friendship and contact for someone who is socially and linguistically isolated
- Maintaining of a link with older members of the Italian community who have a wealth of historical and anecdotal information.
- Sharing of community events with someone who cannot participate in them