Better at Home Friendly Visitors
A Friendly Face Can Make a World of Difference
When SOS started offering friendly visiting through the Oceanside Better at Home program, volunteer Elaine Eddy jumped at the chance to volunteer. Eight months and countless cribbage games later, Eddy and the man she visits for an hour each week have become good friends. As a bonus, Eddy has found a new friend in the man’s daughter as well.
“I had heard about the Better at Home program and thought that I would like to help out in some way, especially because I know how valuable it is just to have a regular visitor.”
When her mother was still alive, Elaine Eddy’s visits with her became filled with “doing things for her,” she says. “I’d either be taking her to the doctor or helping her in some other way. We’re all so busy, and my husband was sick and dying of cancer at the time, so there was no time to just visit and enjoy each other’s company.”
Then a friend of Eddy’s offered to visit her mother on a regular basis. “It meant the world to me and to my mother,” she says. “My mother had different things to talk about; she had someone who was interested in her stories who hadn’t heard them before, and it was so nice to know that someone was there for her when I couldn’t be.”
In fact, it is often the adult children of seniors who first contact Jane Williams, Oceanside Better at Home coordinator, to arrange a friendly visit for their parent. Williams explains that it can initially be a difficult step for seniors to take.
“Some people might feel as though there’s something wrong with them if they feel lonely, or don’t have anyone who will come just to visit them,” says Williams. “But it’s not about not having friends, it’s about how busy the world has become. A friendly visitor is there strictly to visit and spend quality time with you.”
Some seniors are also concerned about inviting a stranger into their home. Eddy’s friend’s daughter stayed with her father the first few visits, until everyone was comfortable. All Better at Home volunteers are also carefully screened and must provide a police information check before being approved as volunteers. Williams also ensures that friendly visitors are going to be a good match for specific Better at Home clients.
“I think all of us wish we could just stop once in while and take the time for a good visit with someone, just to share a story, have a laugh or play a game,” adds Williams. “that’s what this program is all about.”
There is no charge for this service. If you or someone you love could benefit from a friendly visit through Oceanside Better at Home, call Jane at 250-248-2093, ext. 248.