A program run through the Town of Sylvan Lake’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is committed to fostering long-term, healthy, independent senior living.
By pairing up seniors and volunteers to spend leisurely time together, the Sylvan Lake Friendly Visitor Program aims to get seniors socializing with others in the community. It helps reduce social isolation and loneliness, and it’s beneficial for companionship and friendship, said program co-ordinator Brittney Wells.
Through weekly visits, volunteers may accompany seniors in a number of different activities, such as gardening, talking and walking together.
“The seniors we are targeting may not have any family or friends in the community, and are ultimately alone,” Wells said.
Volunteers spend time with seniors in their homes at the Sylvan Lake Lodge or Bethany Sylvan Lake.
Volunteers also have the option of meeting seniors at an activity in town, just as long as the senior has transportation allowing him or her to do so.
“The volunteers have said they really enjoy it,” Wells said. “We have one volunteer who plays crib with a senior weekly. It’s a great program.”
Organizers are still looking for at least five more volunteers for the program.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older, pass a criminal record check and sign confidentiality forms in order to participate in the program.
Volunteers and seniors get together to schedule weekly visits. Volunteers are required to commit long-term to the program, and to visit with seniors for a minimum of one hour a week.
“It can’t be short term because there is no real chance for a bond to be there between the volunteer and the senior,” Wells said.
Interested volunteers are asked to contact Karen Miller at 403-887-1137.