For more than 25 years, Lutheran Community Care’s Community Visitors Scheme volunteers have brought joy to isolated elderly people across South Australia.
One volunteer having a positive impact is Maryann Angel, who has been volunteering with LCC’s CVS program for five years.
Maryann has been a bright presence in the life of 100-year-old Nel, who she visits for morning tea at Tanunda Lutheran Home every fortnight.
Despite the large age gap, the two women have formed a solid friendship and enjoy each other’s company.
“Technically Nel could be my mother, or she could be my grandmother, but she is neither, she is my friend,” Maryann said.
“Which is a great thing, because if you’re a hundred years old, I think you’ve earned the right to be as picky as you want about who you associate with, so it’s just as well Nel tells me she is pleased to have me in her life.”
When Maryann initially began visiting Nel, she worried about what they might have in common or if anything she had to say would be of interest to Nel. However, she didn’t need to worry.
“Nel is interested in almost everything and pays a lot of attention to current affairs,” Maryann said.
“She is quite the fan of Harry and Meghan and says she will be excited to hear their baby has arrived. I reminded her that she might well hear from Her Majesty the Queen first (for her 100th birthday).
Recently, on a glorious autumn day, Maryann brought Nel out of the nursing home to meet her new four-month-old grandson. It was a precious moment Maryann will always remember.
“This wonderful lady teaches me a lot of things,” Maryann said.
“She teaches me what patience looks like. What it is to be tolerant of others. Most of all she makes me laugh.
“Each time I walk back up the street to my house after visiting, I am ever grateful that I saw that advertisement (for CVS volunteers).”
The Community Visitors Scheme promotes links between isolated elderly people and those living in the wider community.
Last year, LCC’s program involved 89 volunteers who visited 171 people in aged care facilities or in their homes. A total of 3396 visits were made.
CVS volunteers visit people across suburbs of Adelaide, as well as regional areas, including the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Murray Bridge, Balaklava and Clare.
To find out more about the Community Visitors Scheme, contact Lutheran Community Care’s Annie Chambers on 8562 2688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit www.lccare.org.au/find-help/elderly_visiting/