HELP AT HAND: Grant available to fund critical Seniors social support program.
HELP AT HAND: Grant available to fund critical Seniors social support program.

More grant money to fund local volunteer companions

THE Federal Government is offering another round of funding to recruit, train and support local volunteers to critical role of helping seniors combat loneliness and social isolation.

The Community Visitors Scheme, which started in 1992, supports volunteers to provide friendship and companionship by matching Aged Care recipients with regular volunteer visitors. It is available to recipients of Australian Government subsidised residential aged care services or Home Care Packages.

Local organisations are being encouraged to apply for funding under the $46.1 million grant which is available from January 1, 2019 through to June 30, 2021.

Visits to people in residential aged care facilities can be to groups or one-on-one, while home care package recipients can benefit from individual visits.

Applications close at 5pm (AEDT) on June 12, 2018. Information on how to apply is available through GrantConnect.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, said, "I have raised concerns that up to 40 per cent of aged care home residents have no family members of friends who come to see them. I recently visited one WA home where the residents received no visitors for a whole year.

"These are devastating statistics and demonstrate the importance of the Community Visitors Scheme, whose volunteers can play such crucial roles in the lives of ageing Australians."

Minister Wyatt said isolation was not restricted to older people in residential care. "A recent study found up to 70 per cent of clients receiving aged care in their own homes also experience loneliness," Mr Wyatt said. 

"Research shows men over the age of 55 are the most likely to feel the impact of loneliness, especially after divorces, separations, the death of their partner or leaving the workplace.

"With around 1.3 million Australians receiving Commonwealth aged care assistance each year, including 240,000 in residential care, there are so many who could benefit from visitor support," he added. 


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