Dmitry Berkut

Community visitors reach out on the coast

JACK arrives every week at the same time, a bunch of flowers in hand. It's always a colourful bunch because "Ida likes bright colours".

His walk is measured, he is in pain, yet there is still a sense of purpose to his stride. He taps on the door. Ida's face lights up as Jack comes into her room.

They talk about everything and nothing, share some laughs and memories and a slice of carrot cake with their afternoon cuppa.

Ida has been in a local aged care facility for almost two years. Her health problems meant she could no longer live at home with Jack, her beloved husband of 56 years. They both know Jack's failing health will soon mean an end to his weekly visits.

Maureen lives two doors down the corridor from Ida. Maureen's husband died eight years ago and her only daughter lives in Melbourne and "doesn't get up to Coffs too often".

As with many over the age of 80, Maureen's best friend had to give up driving. This meant an end to her regular visits at the aged care facility. Maureen is lonely.

"The staff are wonderful and I have met other people here, but it would be so nice to have someone come visit especially just to see me," Maureen said.

Behind every door there's a different story. Some residents have loved ones or friends who find it physically difficult to visit, others are widows or widowers and some may have no-one living locally.

You can make a real difference in the lives of people like Maureen, Ida and Jack*.

Community Visitors Scheme, based at the Community Village in Earl St, Coffs Harbour, is seeking men and women interested in offering ongoing friendship to older residents in aged care facilities for an hour weekly.

You will be matched to one resident for a chat, a walk in the gardens, or to


go out for a drive and you will receive training and support.

Your weekly visit will improve the quality of life and make such a difference. Learn more, Community Visitors Scheme 6648 3660.


*Names have been changed.

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