Friendship through a companionship program
Sometimes all you need is some great company. Today, we sat down with Sandra* and Patricia, who have a mutual understanding and growing friendship – thanks to their connection through In Great Company.
Sandra, why did you decide to register for the In Great Company companionship program? What did your weeks look like before you started the program?
Feros Care Technical Support Officer, Russ, referred me to the companionship program. Russ was very easy to talk to and we got to know each other during his visits with the Let’s Get Technical program. I don't have any family close by and a good friend became more unavailable to visit often, as I am now caring for my husband who has dementia. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I didn't mix much, and learnt ways to amuse myself without depending on the outside world. This does have it advantages and disadvantages. The lack of face to face interaction is what drew me to register for a volunteer companion.
Tell us a bit about your volunteer companion. How often do you meet? What activities do you do together?
Patricia and I meet once a fortnight. Patricia is wonderfully flexible and open to any suggestions for activities. Recently we visited the Crystal Gem Festival in Murwillumbah, enjoying the experience, as we have a mutual interest in gemstones.
We hit it off right away. Most visits feature long chats near the beach, coffee or fish and chips in the park. On occasion, Patricia’s dog Peggy, also joins us for a catch up.
And Patricia, tell us more about Sandra and what you enjoy most about her company?
She is a delightful, gracious woman who can't believe that someone would travel any distance to be her companion. We have both declared a strong and immediate affinity for each other.
How has your life changed since meeting? What are you most proud of?
Sandra: With Patricia, time just flies. I feel at ease and comfortable sharing my past with her and knowing that she is a non-judgmental ear. There are no barriers between us.
Patricia: I am proud that Sandra feels comfortable and confident enough to suggest outings of her choice. I always have such a terrific time with her.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the In Great Company companionship program?
Sandra: Go ahead and do it! Put aside any reservations and give it a go! It is such a rewarding experience.
Patricia: I can't express enough how much I enjoy Sandra’s company nor how much I look forward to spending time with her. She has enriched my life enormously.
*Name has been changed.
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