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Column: SSA’s ‘Friendly Visitors’ Spread Good Cheer to City’s Seniors

Senior Services of Alexandria’s Friendly Visitors Program is in full swing providing companionship to more than 30 Alexandria seniors. The program, which was officially launched, in October 2012 has taken off and the number of matches are increasing daily.

SSA partnered with AARP to get the word out about the program and the need for volunteers to become Friendly Visitors. The response from our great community was overwhelming and we couldn’t be more pleased. We are reaching seniors from every corner of Alexandria.

Prospective Friendly Visitor volunteers receive one-on-one training and undergo a background check prior to meeting their potential match. The Friendly Visitor and their paired match meet weekly to talk, play games, and share common interests. SSA works with area assisted-living and nursing homes in the area, including Envoy of Alexandria, The Hermitage, The Fountains at Washington House, and Woodbine Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to identify seniors who could benefit from the program. We are also working with the City of Alexandria’s Division of Aging and Adult Services to identify seniors who may interested in having a regular visitor. SSA has also connected with seniors from the Annie B. Rose House, Claridge House, as well as seniors living in their own homes in the community.

At the first quarterly gathering, current Friendly Visitors shared their experiences about the joy and fulfillment they get from the program. “Just listening to stories about their incredible lives is so rewarding, and it makes them feel really good that someone is interested in listening to them,” said one of the volunteers. They also shared activities they do when meeting with their seniors: reading articles in a magazine to discuss at their next visit, talking about current events or just taking a stroll.

If you’d like to become a Friendly Visitor or know a senior who would benefit from the program, please call Senior Services of Alexandria at 703 836 4414, ext. 20 or email volunteer@seniorservicesalex.org.

It’s a great feeling knowing that your visit is the highlight of a person’s day, and we think that you just might feel that it is the highlight of your day too.