Lisa describes her experiences as a Community Visitor and the reward of making a real difference to the lives of others.
I’ve always felt a connection with the older generation and after visiting family members in hospitals and in care homes, it made me realise just how lonely and isolated some residents could feel without regular visitors of their own. Care teams in the homes are wonderful but they are obviously very busy and have a limited amount of time.
As my children are now in their teens I felt that I had the time to do something to help others and maybe bring a bit of cheer into their day-to-day lives. I heard about the My Home Life Essex Community Association through a family member and I was particularly interested in their Community Visitors project which is being trialled in the Colchester area. The more I heard about the scheme the more I knew it was for me. I now give about half a day a week and what an investment it’s proving to be.
Community Visitors (CVs) are unpaid volunteers who work in a team of two to support a care home to provide the best quality of life for its residents, according to their personal wishes. We act as a friend to the residents, their families, their carers and the home manager, offering an independent set of eyes and ears to help the home build on its strengths and change what could be better. We feel we’re able to add value and act as catalysts for positive improvements, for the benefit of everyone living, working or visiting a care home for older people.
Since becoming a Community Visitor I’ve been delighted to develop some good relationships with the residents and staff and they make me feel so welcome. I have received some positive feedback about what I am achieving and the impact it is already having which is very satisfying and reassures me that what I’m doing is right.
It’s amazing how just a small amount of time spent talking with and caring about others, listening to music with them, playing a card game, listening to their life stories and just being a friend to them seems to make such a difference to the residents. Plus it makes me feel pretty good too!
In our busy world it’s easy to forget that it’s the simple things that can give us most pleasure so I feel privileged to be a Community Visitor. I get great support and encouragement from The My Home Life Essex Community Association team and my fellow Community Visitor, Alice. I hope that I will continue to help, encourage and support residents, their families and staff alike.