Dedicated volunteers connect seniors seeking friendships

Dedicated volunteers connect seniors seeking friendships

Outreach program Godsend for older folks wanting to socialize with their peers

When Allen K. Sharp’s wife Frances moved into Langley Lodge, the 93-year-old was left with a void in his life.

And while he visits Frances, also 93, on a daily basis, he has found new purpose through a volunteer-based Seniors Peer Outreach Program based out of Langley Lodge.

“I enjoy people; I have always enjoyed people,” said Sharp, who was born in Langley and now lives in Cloverdale.

The volunteer-driven service provides person-to-person outreach to connect with isolated and at-risk seniors and is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The program is for people 55 and older who are having trouble maintaining social connections due to the fact they live alone or are geographically isolated from family and friends, and may be experiencing challenges, such as changes in physical functioning or health status, early cognitive changes such as memory loss and confusion, or have limited financial means which creates a barrier for them to join social activities.

There is no cost to participate, no fees or memberships. And for those who require it, private bus transportation is provided to Langley Lodge.

“It’s for people living on their own, and it’s to bring them out to the social functions,” Sharp explained. “We have lunch here every Friday. They organize something for us to keep our interest in Langley.”

While Sharp has a direct connection to Langley Lodge through his wife, most people involved in the program come to the long-term care facility each week to socialize with others in similar circumstances.

“Most of the people who come are people who live by themselves, and it gets them orientated with other people,” Sharp said.

The program is just as fulfilling for volunteer Kim Kruger as it is for the seniors it serves.

“I’ve always wanted to work with elders,” Kruger said. “It was the right fit. I love being with elders. It’s just nice to give back.”

Kruger’s grandmother lived at Langley Lodge before she passed away. Volunteering at Langley Lodge is Kruger’s way of giving back to the long-term care facility.

“They are great people — just great,” Kruger said.

Many of the seniors who come to Langley Lodge each week have quickly formed a strong bond.

“They now have friendships,” Kruger said. “A lot of them came on their own and now they have their own groups of friends.”

To make a referral for yourself or for someone you know call 604-530-2305,email lsamms@langleylodge.org, or visit Langley Lodge at 5451 204 St.

 

Dedicated volunteers connect seniors seeking friendships