FRIENDLY VISITOR PROGRAM
The Friendly Visitor Program of the Marion Council On Aging seeks to maximize independence and enrich the quality of life for isolated seniors within the community. The program provides screened and trained volunteers to visit seniors in their homes. Visitors support seniors through weekly contact providing social support and a connection to the community. All volunteers and staff are screened through a CORI (Criminal History Systems Board) check.
Trained volunteers are matched with those seniors from Marion who would appreciate and benefit from a friendly visit once a week. Volunteers are requested to donate a minimum of one hour a week and commit to the program for at least one year. Visits could include active listening, conversation, playing cards or games, reading or writing letters, etc.
People who are isolated, lonely, and have limited family or community support are identified through a variety of referral avenues including but are not limited to: self-identification, family, friends, plus community agencies and churches. The Friendly Visitor Coordinator interviews seniors for the program to assess needs and interests in order to provide an appropriate volunteer match. The coordinator also monitors the progress of the relationship and identifies any potential problems and solutions contributing to the independence and quality of life of the participants.
The Friendly Visitor Coordinator is responsible for directing the program which includes recruiting, screening, training, and the matching and monitoring volunteers. Volunteers can be matched with one or more isolated seniors with similar or complimentary interests. The Coordinator reports to the Marion COA Director.
This program provides significant benefits to the people it serves, to the volunteers, and to the community. The clients can look forward to a weekly social visit from a caring volunteer. The volunteers receive the reward of alleviating loneliness and providing support to an isolated senior. Volunteers also are rewarded through the growing social interaction with clients and the ensuing friendship. The community benefits through knowing that seniors will receive support and companionship increasing independence, safety and quality of life.