New friendly visiting program seeks volunteers

Topics: Saskatchewan
June 15, 2015


(Yorkton, June 15, 2015) A new service being launched by the Canadian Red Cross in the Yorkton area this fall is recruiting volunteers.
 
The Red Cross Friendly Visiting Program is a three year pilot program that aims to help seniors stay in their homes longer by reducing isolation and increasing their health and safety. Developed in partnership with SecurTek, the companionship program will launch in Yorkton with plans to expand to Melville, Ituna, Preeceville, Norquay, Langenburg and Churchbridge over the next three years.
 
Potential volunteers can apply by contacting the Red Cross Friendly Visiting Coordinator, Michelle Smith, at 306-620-3281 or michelleb.smith@redcross.ca.
 
“This program is driven by volunteers who are willing to spare a few hours of their time each week visiting with isolated seniors,” said Smith. “It could be the only contact these seniors have.”
 
Once volunteers are screened and trained by the Red Cross, they will be matched with one or more seniors. Visits will take place over the phone or face-to-face at least once every two weeks.
 
Volunteers will be required to submit a criminal record check and have valid first aid certification.
 
“This can be life-changing for seniors who are isolated,” said Smith. “Research shows that simply playing a game or chatting about the news can reduce the feeling of isolation and increase the health and safety of seniors.”
 
“We take very seriously our role in making homes, businesses and communities safer. Having a safe foundation to build from, increases the likelihood of healthy and age friendly communities where everyone can prosper and thrive." said Darrell Jones, President and CEO of SecurTek - A SaskTel Company. "We know that working together with the Canadian Red Cross to bring the Friendly Visiting Program to this area will be a "win" for our seniors and a rewarding experience for the volunteers who will be engaging them."
 
“Our Government is proud to work with organizations like the Canadian Red Cross whose Friendly Visiting project strives to help keep seniors active, engaged and informed. Funded through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, this project exemplifies how seniors can make a real difference in the lives of others and in their communities,” said Minister of State (Seniors) Alice Wong.
 
Seniors who interested in being visited by volunteers can also contact the Red Cross Friendly Visiting Coordinator, but they won’t be matched until September.
 
The Red Cross Friendly Visiting Program is just one area that the Red Cross is looking for volunteers. Other volunteer opportunities can be found at www.redcross.ca. More information about the Red Cross Friendly Visiting Program can be found at www.redcross.ca/saskatchewan.
 
 
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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Melanie Horton
Canadian Red Cross
306-782-4355
Melanie.horton@redcross.ca
@redcrossSK