Bringing Companionship & Care To Older Adults
Note: Client’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.
Helping older adults and offering companionship came naturally to Circle of Care volunteer, Lisa.
As an Occupational Therapist with Baycrest Centre for 12 years, Lisa worked with many older adults including Holocaust Survivors. Inspired by her experience working with older adults, Lisa decided to join Circle of Care’s volunteer team in 2018 after her retirement.
“I get so much pleasure from visiting clients with Circle of Care, it’s truly a rewarding experience,” she says. “Volunteering added structure to my weekly routine and has given me a new sense of purpose. It has shown me how much of an impact and difference I can make to the lives of others.”
As a friendly visitor volunteer, Lisa provides companionship to her clients, bringing kindness and care with each visit, and enhancing the quality of life for each of her clients. Prior to the pandemic, Lisa would visit Circle of Care clients in the comfort of their homes, creating a special bond with them.
“My most rewarding experience was when I volunteered and connected with Esther, who was a Holocaust Survivor. I had the opportunity to listen to her stories about her past, while spending time together by playing cards and other activities,” says Lisa.
Along with providing companionship to Esther, Lisa also provided much needed caregiver relief to Esther’s daughter during her friendly visits.
“Her daughter was able to venture out and get tasks done, or even have lunch with a friend,” says Lisa. “On occasion, her daughter would just rest and I would be happy for her to do so, as she was quite exhausted at times from caring for her mother.”
Lisa was a friendly visitor to Esther for almost two years before Esther passed away. Lisa’s memories and stories of Esther’s resilience as a Holocaust Survivor still inspire Lisa to this day. Since Esther’s passing, Lisa has remained in contact with Esther’s daughter.
“What inspires me about Holocaust Survivors is their incredible strength and fortitude to have went through such horrible times, yet continue to build meaningful lives,” she says. “I feel very grateful for my volunteer encounters that I have experienced and honoured that Esther chose to share her stories with me.”
With COVID-19 safety measures in place, many volunteer positions have transitioned to an online platform or practiced with health and safety precautions. For Lisa, whether it’s connecting from a distance or up close, all of her interactions with clients will always be cherished.
“I am touched so deeply with each client,” Lisa says. “Overall, I have found my volunteer experience to be extremely fulfilling!”
Circle of Care currently has a variety of open volunteer opportunities for adults and students. If you or someone you may know is interested in volunteering and connecting with older adults visit our Volunteer page for more details and to register!