Visitors scheme uses technology to stay in touch

95-year-old Reginald Warn uses an iPad to connect and keep in touch.
95-year-old Reginald Warn uses an iPad to connect and keep in touch.

The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) helps to bring lonely or isolated people together using new iPads funded by a federal government grant.

Part of the COVID recovery money granted to UnitingCare Merimbula purchased iPads for CVS volunteers and clients.

The iPads were used to help facilitate Facetime 'visits' with families locked out of interstate travel. It has also meant visitors and clients can watch movies together, play games and keep in touch during the time when aged care facilities have had to prevent volunteers from visiting.

The CVS is a national program funded by the Australian government and aims to enrich the quality of life of socially isolated older residents in the community. CVS links people with volunteers of similar interests and provides a regular friendly visitor.

They spend time together doing something they both enjoy which could be anywhere from jigsaw puzzles to drives in the country, shopping or lunch.

Reverend Jean Shannon of Merimbula's Uniting Church said strong friendships are a critical aspect of older people's emotional well-being.

A community visitor is a person who sets aside time to visit and befriend an older member of the community living at home or in residential care.

Visitors share common interests and the people visited benefit from increased community connectedness and decreased anxiety, isolation and loneliness.

If you know someone who would benefit from a visit or you would like to volunteer, contact the CVS Sapphire Coast coordinator on 0422 974 911 or cvs.sapphire@hotmail.com.

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