A Southern Highlands volunteer organisation is set to provide new support to combat social isolation in seniors.
Volwing, located in Queen Street, Moss Vale, has gained the backing of the NSW Government for its Combating Social Isolation for Seniors during COVID-19 program.
The organisation has developed the project to reduce social isolation for seniors aged 65 years and over, or 55 years and over for Aboriginal people in our area.
It is a free service for seniors in isolation and it aims to combat social isolation and social distancing for seniors during the COVID-19 through the provision of quality social connection opportunities.
The driving forces behind the program Bronwyn Colcott (Volwing chair), Helen Wooby (Volwing manager) and Barry Stewart (Volwing vice chair) have worked through the Covid lockdown to have everything and everyone ready to go.
Mr Stewart said suicide, depression, anxiety and problems with alcohol and medications were issues some older Australians still faced on a day-to-day basis.
He said that many of the problems seniors faced today stemmed from social isolation, "loneliness in other words."
"Covid-19 has compounded these problems; we are facing a pandemic of isolation," he said.
"We at Volwing are very proud of the work that has gone into securing a grant and planning our 'Combating Social Isolation in Seniors' program.
"Since the minister's recent announcement, we can start to roll out the program fulfilling our local part of this larger statewide scheme."
Mr Stewart is quick to point out the ease of the Volwing program to combat social isolation in seniors.
"It works by phone," he said.
"Our Volwing CIS volunteers team members have been chosen for their compassion and empathy.
"They are trained in how to direct you to get the assistance you need from external organisations, and to keep in-touch with you on a regular basis.
"They are the go-to people for help, or just for a friendly chat throughout the period of isolation.
"If you are computer savvy, we will show you how to use Zoom, Face time or similar as a communications platform.
"This enables face-to-face communications with your Volwing volunteer and enables you to enjoy online conversations with others.
"Online safety and scam avoidance is another important part of this training."
Mr Stewart said "in 1966 Paul McCartney wrote Eleanor Rigby, a song about the neglected concerns and fates of the elderly."
"Although some would say that we haven't learned or done enough about the problem in the 54 years since, many volunteer organisation have done much.
"With the help of Meals on Wheels, Community Transport and our local media we hope to reach many, if not all the lonely people."
For further details call 4869 4617 between 9am to 1pm Monday - Thursday or go to www.volwing.org.au
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