At just 24 years old, Ariah Goodluck is leading the way for young people to help combat social isolation and connect with society’s older generation.
The young electrician recently joined IMPACT Community Services’ Community Visitors Scheme, a friendship program that links volunteer visitors with people living in aged care facilities or who receive in-home care throughout the Bundaberg and Burnett regions.
Ariah’s enthusiasm is infectious, and several of her friends and family members are also planning to volunteer in the program, which aims to tackle social isolation in older people.
The television show Old People’s Home for Teenagers inspired Ariah to join the program, with the content hitting close to home as she regularly observes elderly family members losing friends and family and attending funerals.
While she hasn’t yet made her first visit, Ariah said she was looking forward to forging a new friendship and benefiting from the wisdom the older generation has to offer.
“I saw the difference [the friendships] made on the show and… it’d be nice to bring a bit of light to people,” she said.
Ariah is encouraging others to get involved in the Community Visitors Scheme, with friends, her mother and even her 93-year-old grandmother keen to join. Her grandmother, who is part of her inspiration for taking part in the scheme, is teaching her to play cards in preparation for her visits once she is matched with a participant.
Ariah said she feels it’s important to reduce loneliness in older people, and by taking part in the scheme she hopes to allow them to feel like they have family again.
“For the small amount of time you can give, you can make a big impact in someone’s life,” she said.
Scheme coordinator Heather Hinsbey said she would love to see more young people involved in the Community Visitors Scheme, as they have different skills and life experiences to bring to the table, including the ability to share knowledge of technology.
Heather said: “We ask that you visit a minimum of once a fortnight spending time doing something you both enjoy.”
“You might like to go for short walks outside, play card games, help to write letters or even just have a cuppa and a chat,” she said.
IMPACT’s Community Visitors Scheme celebrates 30 years this year and is a valuable community volunteering opportunity that has been improving the lives of our isolated older people. Volunteer opportunities are available in Bundaberg, Monto, Gayndah, Childers and Gin Gin.
Interested in volunteering? Call Heather on 0448 035 891 or 07 4153 4233.