You are not alone, Age Concern New Zealand wants to end loneliness in New Zealand too!
Richard has an amazing and caring family but they are all scattered throughout New Zealand and some even further afield chasing their dreams overseas. His wife passed away last year as have many of his friends. He was finding it really difficult to make new friends and became depressed and felt very alone most days.
A chance comment from his GP about Age Concerns visitor service that sparked Richard into action.
“I admit that it was really hard to take the first step, in fact I had several false starts because I was scared to admit that I was lonely, a bit embarrassed really.
“Anyway I took the plunge and immediately was glad I did. I was treated with respect and made to feel comfortable when I talked about my situation with the Age Concern visitor coordinator. She explained that loneliness is a major issue and at some stage in our lives we all get lonely but not everyone does something about it. That made me feel better!
‘She was really interested in finding a person to visit me with similar interests and she did - Henry!
“Henry’s first visit to me is etched in my memory – he came through the gate with a smile from ear to ear and I knew we would get on then and there. He was the only visitor I had had in two weeks and it really helped me feel better just seeing him.
“Together we now debate the latest issues and catch each other up on local news, we have started to walk to the local park and now try and pop into the shops. I never knew how much my life would change by adding one person, but it has and I am so overwhelmed - We have become great friends!
Henry loves meeting people and wanted to volunteer his spare time. Becoming an Age Concern volunteer visitor was a perfect fit!
“I have met some amazing people and made some true friendships volunteering as a visitor. I am so lucky!
‘I have noticed that since I started visiting Richard he stands a little prouder, is getting onto repairs around the house and is laughing, always laughing!
“We would never have crossed paths unless we both took the step to join up with Age Concern – and I know that we and our families are so happy we did!
What can you do?
Make a donation to Age Concern New Zealand to help us train and support more volunteer visitors.
Would you like more company?
If you are feeling lonely, or would just like more social contact, it’s important to do something about it, and Age Concern can help. Our Accredited Visiting Service is a befriending service that provides regular visits to older people who would like more company. Our visitors are volunteers who are keen to spend time with an older person for about an hour each week to enjoy conversation and shared interests and activities.
Do you have time for older people?
Regular visits can make a real difference to an older person’s health and happiness, and our volunteers tell us that they really enjoy and benefit from, their role. If you would like to spend time with an older person, and have an hour or so a week to spare, we want to hear from you.