The recent statement by Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt that "up to 40 per cent of aged care residents get no visitors" was described as heartbreaking by CatholicCare's Community Visitor Scheme coordinator Nicolle Anderson-Brown.
"Elderly people are some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and to hear that such a large percentage of people in residential care homes receive no visitors at all is heartbreaking," she said.
"The work our volunteers undertake tries to alleviate any feelings or loneliness and isolation by ensuring that our aged care residents feel valued and of importance and connected to their local community" Nicolle continued.
Community Visitor Jan Struthers has been volunteering with CatholicCare for over 10 years as apart of the scheme and believes that the small gesture of a friendly conversation makes the world of difference in the lives of aged care residents.
"All it takes is for one person to visit someone once a week, even for an hour, you can make their day. Everybody needs something to look forward to," said Jan.
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CatholicCare has been facilitating the federally funded Community Visitor Scheme for 24 years brightening the lives of socially isolated people living in aged care homes through one-on-one social visits made by caring and generous volunteers.
To ensure the reduction of the 40% statistic, more volunteers are required to offer aged care residents the gift of friendship or a listening ear. Volunteers are matched with residents with which they may share a similar cultural background, interest or hobby. The visits can involve anything from sharing a cup of tea, reading together, playing a board game, or simply having a chat and a laugh.