Everyone needs friends, comfort, company, support and understanding. The companionship of a good friend provides needed camaraderie through many of life’s transitions. Too often, seniors become isolated at a time in their lives when they would most benefit from social contacts and assistance.
Our Friendly Visiting Program connects eligible seniors over 60 years of age, living in Kane, Kendall and McHenry Counties with carefully screened volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of seniors. Since 1996, this program (previously called Senior Companion) has been making friendship matches, while successfully connecting volunteers with hundreds of seniors in need of companionship.
If you are interested in participating in this program and becoming a Friendly Visitor, or if you wish to refer someone who might benefit from a weekly visit, please contact one of the Friendly Visiting Coordinators.
Friendly Visiting Coordinators
Northern Kane County: Janet Soto │ 847.741.0404 │ firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern Kane and Kendall Counties: Amy Cummings │ 630.553.5777 │ email@example.com
McHenry County: Karen Tobin │ 815.356.7457 │ firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Can Volunteer?
Volunteers must be:
- at least 18 years of age or older
- willing and able to make weekly contact with their senior
- friendly, dependable and compassionate
- committed to making a positive difference in someone’s life
- a person of strong morals and ethics
How are Volunteers Screened?
- complete an application
- submit a list of personal references
- successfully complete and pass criminal background checks
- complete a one-on-one interview/orientation with a Friendly Visiting Program Coordinator
What Does a Friendly Visitor Do?
Friendly Visitors provide positive social contact each week to their senior. They enjoy engaging in fun and purposeful activities together. For example, if the weather is bad, they may sit and chat, play cards or board games, look through pictures, read together, knit or crochet. Getting out of the house is very beneficial for the seniors as well. For more mobile seniors – they enjoy activities outside the home include walking, dining out, visiting garage sales, gardening, taking a scenic drive or visiting the library. Whatever a volunteer visitor and a senior do, they plan it together.
Friendly Visitors stay in contact with their senior through phone calls, often bringing joy to seniors, especially when they are not feeling up to an in-person visit.
In addition, Friendly Visitors provide wellbeing checks when they visit, ensuring that seniors are doing well. Occasionally, seniors may have questions or may be confused about how to gain assistance. Friendly Visitors report to a Care Coordinator who is able to keep Case Managers and family members up to date on any changes the senior may be displaying with regard to health and wellbeing.
Friendly Visitors are invaluable to seniors. They are kind and caring, provide a listening ears, and they are supportive friends – all bundled into one.
Why Do Volunteers Become Friendly Visitors?
Our volunteers have many reasons for choosing this program.
- enjoy making new friends and meeting new people
- have the opportunity to help and spend time with a senior citizen
- want to feel needed and useful
- miss having an older person in their life
- want to help their community
- enjoy the flexibility to decide their own schedule
- appreciate being able to have a weekly, meaningful volunteer experience that fits into their work schedule
What are the Benefits of Volunteering?
Volunteers choose to donate time to:
- assist in breaking down social barriers
- explore new interests and hobbies
- provide valuable community service that saves money
- develop new social skills
- better understand community needs
- help foster empathy
- promote personal growth
- heighten self-esteem
Funding for Friendly Visiting is provided by AgeGuide, in conjunction with a variety of grants and from generous individual donations.