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

Just Posted

UPDATE: Home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’ by authorities in Campbell River

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

UPDATE: Fire in abandoned Campbell River house deemed suspicious

Reports of homeless people using vacant home at 666 8th Ave.

Campbell River man in medically-induced coma after serious dirt bike incident

GoFundMe campaign raised more than $3,000 by Monday afternoon

Campbell River firefighters respond to four structure fires in a week

North Campbell River fire deemed ‘suspicious’

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Campers hailed heroes in rock face rescue at Vancouver Island provincial park

The campers quickly noticed the man in distress and jumped into the river to swim across.

Most Read