A phone a friend service have been established to keep elderly connected during the lockdown. Photo: NZ Herald

Phone a friend service established

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Age Concern Nelson Tasman is introducing a ‘Phone a Friend’ service to keep the region’s older people connected and engaged during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

The agency’s normal work centres around social connection, and with older people now being asked to stay at home, it’s only too aware of how that might impact on people.

As a result, it has stepped up to establish this new service. Any one over the age of 65 in the wider Nelson Tasman region can register for ‘Phone a Friend’, and one of Age Concern’s wonderful volunteers will give them regular phone calls to chat.

Manager Caroline Budge says that the emergency response effort by the authorities over the past week has been fantastic.

“Processes are in place to ensure welfare needs, such as accommodation and food, are being established.”

However, she says they were only too aware that many older people don’t have internet access, or rely on getting out and about for their social contact, and they wanted to help fill that gap.

‘We have many, many people who come to our socialising events, or get a volunteer visitor, and having to stop these services has been very hard. However, we’re being creative in how we connect and engage with members. For example, our Tea & Talk groups are phoning each other, and the Sing Yourself Well group even managed an online session, which was a great tonic!’

Age Concern Nelson Tasman is not actively seeking volunteers to do the phoning at this stage. It has a core group of around 40 volunteers who are available at present.

If you wish to receive phone calls from our wonderful volunteers, or know someone who does please, click go the Age Concern Nelson Tasman website at www.ageconcernnt.org.nz to fill in the registration form or contact Susan Arrowsmith on 5447624 ext 3 or [email protected]