Loneliness and isolation affect the physical and mental wellbeing of older adults. Studies have shown that loneliness is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, difficulty sleeping, impaired cognition, and high blood pressure. Without social networks and a connection to the community, the elderly risk their health, and isolation in long-term care has only increased with the pandemic.
How VOYCE Helps
VOYCE has recognized and acknowledged this pervasive issue in long-term care, and we are working to do our part to ensure that every individual on the long-term care continuum has an improved quality of life. Through our programs, VOYCE works to advocate for the rights of residents, provide resources for individuals working to navigate the long-term care system, educate professionals and the community, and participate in system wide advocacy. Now, we are excited to add a new program designed to address the issue of loneliness in long-term care.
What Is Friendly VOYCE?
Our new Friendly VOYCE program connects dedicated volunteers with residents experiencing loneliness and isolation. VOYCE is partnering with two St. Louis City long-term care communities to launch this program. Friendly VOYCE is planned to begin in March of 2022. The program will match a total of ten volunteers with two residents. This matching process will be led by VOYCE and supported by the help of long-term care facility staff.
Staff at the LTC communities will collaborate with us in selecting residents to participate by identifying residents who show the greatest need of additional support and noting any important preferences that will affect matching. We are grateful for this collaboration to help create compatible matches and ultimately reach the goal of both residents and volunteers building meaningful companionship.
We will make sure that our volunteers are set up for success by providing comprehensive training, activities to use during visits, PPE, and additional support, including opportunities for continuing education. This volunteer opportunity is flexible with volunteers visiting weekly based on their schedule and availability.
Making A Difference
VOYCE’s volunteers have been dedicating themselves to improving the lives of residents in long-term care communities for decades. Through their work with the ombudsman program, our committees that plan education and fundraising events, system-wide advocacy, and all of the other ways they support VOYCE, our volunteers make a difference. We know that there are even more individuals out there wanting to help and we are happy to be able to provide more opportunities for the community to connect with long-term care and change lives.
By connecting compassionate volunteers with residents who need additional support, VOYCE hopes to alleviate the loneliness and isolation that so many residents face.
Find Out How You Can Help
If you are interested in finding out more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact Libby Sykes.
Libby SykesSpecial Projects Coordinatorlsykes@voycestl.org314-556-3704