Helping Hands – and Taxis – for Wakatipu Residents

By PSS | Posted: Tuesday September 20, 2016

Community and Frankton Court residents are reaping the benefits of a strong volunteer base and supportive businesses in the region.

Companionship, grocery trips and social outings are all in abundance for elderly residents in the Wakatipu region; thanks to SupportLink and the good nature of a local business.

With about 50 SupportLink clients, the service in the region is thriving.

A new group of 11 volunteers recently underwent training and will soon be matched with clients, while existing volunteer and client relationships continue to have a hugely positive impact on everyone involved.

SupportLink Wakatipu and Frankton Court Co-ordinator Elaine Wells said a number of new clients had come on board since they had stopped driving, and the support of volunteers to residents living independently was crucial.

“Volunteering with SupportLink is about providing companionship to elderly residents in the community – it’s not vacuuming or checking on medications or anything like that; it’s purely social,” she said.

“One volunteer went to take her client out recently, only to have the client tell her they weren’t going out – she had a surprise instead; a foot bath for the volunteer! So it’s a two way relationship, they both get so much out of it.”

Frankton Court residents are also benefitting from the ongoing support of Wakatipu New World, who sponsor taxis to take residents to do their groceries every Tuesday; an arrangement that started more than 15 years ago and that has continued under new ownership.

Elaine said those initiatives, alongside regular coffee groups for SupportLink clients, were providing a really positive environment for the elderly community in the region.

“Local businesses are very supportive of our coffee groups as well,” she said.

“At one recent group members didn’t want to leave, they were so busy catching up with each other!”

Volunteers were from a variety of ethnicities and Kiwis were at times in the minority, she said.

“They’ve often moved to New Zealand and are missing their elderly relatives, so being able to spend time with elderly people in the community is really enjoyable for them,” she said.

CLICK HERE to find out more about SupportLink services in Wakatipu or Southland 

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