During the 40+ years of operation, Co.As.It. community services has grown from an Italian community services organisation to a mainstream provider specialising in services for people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. In recognition of its strong ties to the Italian community, the community visitors scheme is affectionately referred to “Adopt a Nonna or Nonno”. The initiative connects elderly people living in government-funded residential aged care facilities, on home care packages or at risk of social isolation, 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 initiative is the only source of contact with the wider community, for many Italian residents living in residential aged care homes. These residents would be at a greater disadvantage without the social, emotional and spiritual of their volunteers.
Benefits of the initiative include:
- greatly reduced social, linguistic and cultural isolation on admission into an aged care facility for Italian elderly;
- increased social and recreational contact for frail people still living at home who 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 volunteers play in meeting these needs.
Benefits for the volunteers include:
- brightening an older person’s life;
- bonding with older members of the Italian community who have a wealth of experience and knowledge;
- sharing community events with someone who cannot participate in them.
For more information about becoming a volunteer, please call 07 3624 6100.