The Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS) was designed to provide companionship and social interaction for elderly individuals through volunteer visits. The program is available to seniors receiving residential aged care and in-home aged care services, as well as those on the National Priority System, targeted at those facing social isolation. The current program was introduced on July 1 and has approximately 140 organisations currently engaged in the program.
Volunteer visits are a cost-free effort aimed at offering friendship, companionship, and cultivating social interaction with seniors. The program prioritises the needs of older individuals from specific linguistic, cultural, and vulnerability backgrounds who are more susceptible to social isolation. This includes individuals from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, diverse cultural backgrounds, rural or remote areas, financial or social disadvantage, homelessness or at risk of it, veterans, care leavers, those affected by forced adoption or removal, LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities, hearing impairments, cognitive impairments including dementia, as well as those dealing with mental health conditions and trauma exposure.
Funding is provided to community organisations to facilitate volunteer recruitment, training, support, police checks, volunteer-elder matching, and to nurture the relationships formed between volunteers and elderly recipients of care. Volunteers commit to at least 20 annual visits, which can take the form of one-on-one or group interactions in residential aged care homes, or one-on-one visits to individuals with Home Care Packages.
Referrals are accepted from the elderly individuals themselves, as well as from aged care service providers, family members, and friends. Becoming a volunteer visitor in aged care offers a gratifying and transformative experience, as it involves forming friendships, sharing experiences, and providing companionship to those in need of social connection. You can get more information on volunteering here: https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/aged-care-volunteer-visitors-scheme-acvvs/volunteer
Volunteers typically spend an hour with their assigned elderly person once a fortnight, scheduling visits at mutually convenient times and locations, which can include the individual’s residence, an aged care facility, or a public setting. Elderly Australians lacking consistent contact with family or friends, or experiencing cultural disconnection, can be referred to a local volunteer visiting network by their aged care service provider. Additionally, older Australians receiving government-funded aged care services have the option to self-refer to the program. You can get more information on self-referring here: https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/aged-care-volunteer-visitors-scheme-acvvs/request
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