Some of the current Seniors Peer Support volunteers take a break during a recent training session at the Community Centre for a group photo. Volunteer Campbell River is currently looking for more 55+ volunteers to help local seniors avoid becoming isolated in our community. Photo courtesy Volunteer CR

A sense of connection for Campbell River seniors

Seniors Peer Support program getting back up and running under the Volunteer CR umbrella

One of the fall-outs of the Campbell River Women’s Resource Society ceasing operations early in 2019 was the loss of Campbell River’s Senior Peer Support program, which was a valuable resource for many seniors in our community.

While the North Island Transition Society has taken over administration of the Women’s Centre to keep that particular function previously provided by the Women’s Resource Society open, the Transitions Society’s mandate is to provide resources and programs for women and children, but the Senior Peer Support program supports men, as well, so the Senior Peer Support program folded.

But not for long.

“They were looking throughout the community to see who could take this on, and because it’s basically a volunteer program with a coordinator who gets a little bit of money to do their work, it made sense for it to come here, and we were more than willing to do that,” says Mary Catherine Williams, executive director of Volunteer Campbell River.

The program fulfills a few needs that many might not even recognize. In fact, even those who will likely end up using it probably didn’t realize they’d need it eventually.

“There’s a real need that seniors have for information and support,” Williams says. “They are sometimes isolated. As their lives change, the people around them sometimes change, as well, and their needs obviously change, including their need for information, because they are experiencing new situations in their lives they’ve never experienced before.”

That information might be as straightforward as “how do I apply for my pension” or “how do I access the HandiDart system,” Williams says, but it could also be more complicated, such as filing income taxes or looking into housing options.

“There are many different needs that arise as people age,” Williams says. “They’ve probably never needed a walker before, for example, so they’ve likely never looked into where they could get one. Our volunteers not only have access to all the information about where people can go for things, but they can also help them get there,” Williams says. “Maybe they don’t feel comfortable going alone. Well, the volunteer can go with them.”

Possibly even more important than access to information and resources, however, is the human interaction element the program provides.

“The other part that is so important is just the sense of connection,” Williams says. “For an isolated senior who maybe has experienced significant life changes – their spouse has passed away, their children are busy with their lives, their friends are dying, their health is maybe deteriorating and they can’t get out as often – to be able to spend some time with someone who knows what you”re going through and has been trained to be an effective listener and social support person who can also give these seniors sort of a route back into society is a really amazing thing to be able to offer.”

Volunteers don’t need to have any specific or special skills in order to get involved, Williams says. As long as you’re over 55 years of age – it’s a “peer” support program, after all – you can help out.

“We want people from all walks of life with all kinds of backgrounds and skills,” Williams says. “It’s really just about having an interest in supporting another person and helping make someone’s life a little bit better.”

But because the program has been shut down since January, they need the community’s help to get it back up and running.

“We’re working hard to get the volunteers back and get the people registered for it who need it,” Williams says. “There’s really no other place where this information or this support and listening ear – a human who is happy to listen to you – is available. It’s a unique program in our community and it really helps improve the lives of seniors who access it.”

Anyone interested in volunteering are invited to call program coordinator Jean Drosse at 250-287-1442 for more information or Email crpeersupport@gmail.com



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Provincial Election candidates for the North Island riding. (Campbell River Mirror graphic)
Over 4,300 mail-in ballots returned so far in North Island district

Elections BC provides progress report before vote count

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony 2019. Campbell River Mirror file photo
Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony to go ahead in reduced form

Public asked not to attend; event will be streamed on social media, Shaw TV

Father Charles Brandt, a hermit priest. File Photo
Black Creek environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Two suspects seen outside of Gord Knight Auto on Oct. 27 at around 4:15 a.m. Campbell River RCMP are looking for information on these suspects’ identities. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP look for suspects in break-in cases

Two suspects caught on surveilance video

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Most Read