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Looking for Lonely Seniors…
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Looking for Lonely Seniors…

Senior Services of Alexandria’s “Friendly Visitor” Program

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Tanya Edwards

As we continue to stay at home and remain safe, feelings of loneliness and isolation might be setting in, especially for older adults who live alone or are confined to their living space in a residential facility. Senior Services of Alexandria is connecting these folks with a “Friendly Visitor” to talk with about how they are doing, and to provide companionship.

SSA’s Friendly Visitor Program started in 2014 pairing isolated older adults with volunteers for weekly visits. Over 100 pairs have been matched and numerous friendships have been formed. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our city, we took our program virtual and now our Friendly Visitor pairs are meeting by phone, and sharing notes of encouragement to keep a smile on our seniors’ faces.

Volunteers for SSA’s nutrition programs, Meals on Wheels and Groceries to Go, confirm that there are many more older adults who could use a friendly visitor. That is why we have been reaching out to the Alexandria community to recruit volunteers who want to help make a difference during this time of crisis. We have been very pleased at the response received so far.

Here is a short testimonial from one of our newest volunteers, Sharon. “What a lovely lady! She loves Meals on Wheels and the Grocery to Go program. You are providing wonderful services to older adults. I am happy to be a part of this.”

We need everyone’s help in connecting our volunteers with isolated older adults in our community, one senior at a time. We work hard to match people who have similar interests so they have a starting point for their conversations. If you are an older adult who could use a new friend to talk to please let us know. Also, if there is someone in your community that you know could use some “virtual” companionship, please reach out to us. Let’s take care of our seniors – they deserve it!

You can contact me by email at friendlyvisitor@seniorservicesalex.org.