Vera and Paul and the Community Visitor Scheme
This is a story about our Community Visitor Scheme (CVS) that allows our volunteers to visit socially isolated and lonely elders residing in aged care facilities. It is also a story about the beautiful friendship one of our amazing volunteers – Vera Bosheva has cultivated with Paul Ruckert, a resident of Vasey RSL Care (Vasey House).
When Vera was first interviewed for the CVS Program at Vasey House, she assumed she would be matched with a female resident. However the coordinator made a strong case for Paul, as someone who could benefit from Vera’s visits.
Vera began visiting Paul in June 2013, and soon discovered Paul had many interests; classical music, history, science, medicine and meteorology. However what Paul liked the most was quizzes and playing nine letter word games.
Vera would try and visit Paul every fortnight in between work and on every visit she would “chat about any of his interests, listen to his favourite music from his era on my mobile phone, where he would often sing-along, and finish with playing word games,” says Vera.
“On warm sunny days we would go outside for some of these activities.”
Vera would also show Paul short videos of his choice. “I would ask him what the first thing he thinks of and whatever he would pick, we would watch on my phone e.g. sausages. We would then watch a short video on how to make sausages!”
Says Vera, “It has been so rewarding to be able to make a difference to an elderly person’s wellbeing.”
“I have also learned so much from Paul and his life story, which I wrote the first year. I thought that it will be great to write what he remembers. I completed his life story and gave it to him for Christmas 2013,” says Vera.
“I look forward to visiting Paul. He is always happy to see me and thanks me for the visit.” says Vera.
Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, Vera is unable to visit Paul, but calls Vasey House to check on him regularly.
Vera adds, “The Community Visitor Scheme provides companionship and friendship to many elderly people who are isolated and lonely. Even though some of them may be living with other elderly people, some residents are not interested in these activities, especially some men. The CVS volunteer can identify resident’s own interests/hobbies and share and act on these with the resident and enrich the quality of life of recipients.”
Monica Polimeni, Advisor Engagement, Broadmeadows Hospital and Community Visitor Scheme, says, “The CVS program has allowed residents to form lasting and rewarding friendships and has given a sense of purpose back to elders in the community.”
If you would like the chance to make a positive impact on the lives of others, and in turn your own, please contact the Northern Health Engagement Team via email@example.com or on 8345 5837.