Volunteer Claudia speaks out about the benefits of Befriendas

Claudia loves being a part of Befriendas, a NARI research project that is investigating the benefits of befriending older people in residential aged care. From the initial training, which runs for two hours, through to her befriending ‘a new friend’, Claudia cannot talk highly enough of the project.

I started visiting Jane (pseudonym) in August and whilst I was nervous at first, have had a marvellous time. Jane is so lovely and talkative and is excited to have a new visitor and friend.

Jane has lived in residential care for about a year now after deciding that she couldn’t live at home on her own anymore. She loves to talk about her family and her memories of England She is intelligent and able, she does use a walker and is blind in one eye. She is still relatively independent.

After about 4 or 5 weeks into the visits she was introducing me to all the staff and residents on site as ‘her new friend’ who has come to visit.

We talk about a range of topics: her family and friends, my family and friends, we talk about our week and what’s been making headlines in the news. I have never had a session with Jane that has been uninteresting, we go for walks in the courtyard and have cups of tea; all of this has benefited both Jane and myself. I actively look forward to seeing her every week.

I would highly recommend this project to anyone wanting to take part in volunteering and anyone who just wants to make a new friend. The volunteer portion is only 1 day a week, for around an hour and is incredibly rewarding.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, please contact Marcia (befriendas@nari.edu.au or (03) 8387 2305).