The program is financed by the government as part of the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS).
Candidates will be paired with a senior in their area who they will spend time with for an hour a fortnight for 40 weeks.
The volunteer has the option to nominate in-house visits or in an aged care facility.
CVS coordinator Sarina Campbell said the experience is enjoyable for both the elderly, and the volunteer.
It’s an opportunity to make a new friend, provide social support and possibly even practice Italian language skills.
“You might play cards, look at photos, chat or just provide un po’ di compagnia,” Campbell said.
“For people living at home, their mobility might not be that great.
“This program brings to them friendship and language.
“It’s a community based project.”
Professor Doyle from the National Ageing Research Institute described the benefits of befriending through companionship.
“It provides seniors with a regular visitor to talk to, which will potentially reduce their loneliness, increase their social support systems, and in turn reduce their depressive and anxiety symptoms,” he said.
Campbell also said that programs such as this one increase mental and emotional wellbeing for the volunteer themselves, who benefits from a sense of giving back to the community, and brightening someone’s day.
She added that a relationship forged with an old person could potentially act as a kind of replacement for a missing grandparent.
CO.AS.IT. Brisbane will provide all volunteer training and insights for candidates.
Italian language is preferred but not essential, and people from all walks of life are encouraged to apply.
This is a volunteer position.