For individuals who may have outlived friends, maybe separated geographically from family, or have mobility or impairment issues, isolation becomes all too familiar. That is why FriendshipWorks began our Friendly Visiting program more than three decades ago. This compassionate program matches volunteers with older adults for meaningful friendships to help alleviate isolation and create community.
FriendshipWorks plays a unique role in addressing social isolation by providing a human connection for older adults. Friendly Visitors visit once a week to drink coffee or tea, share stories, go for walks or do errands together or assist with small tasks. Many of our “matches” last years, allowing for shared interests and activities that come with enduring friendships.
Why Friendly Visiting?
Without the stimulation that social interaction and friendship provide, an isolated individual can experience poor health, a lack of strength and energy, depression, and other physical, emotional, and mental health problems. Weekly visits from our friendly volunteers can change all that.
Friendly Visiting is fun for both the volunteer and recipient! Many of our “matches” last years, allowing for shared interests and activities that come with enduring friendships. Many of our volunteers tell us how much they gain by spending time with their match. In fact, during the pandemic, volunteers reported they had a sense of purpose, learned resilience, and perseverance.
But Friendly Visiting helps both older adults and volunteers feel more connected and less isolated. Many of our volunteers tell us how much they gain by spending time with their match. See our volunteer page for more about the benefits of volunteering!
“It has made me feel less lonely and I got to learn more about the neighborhood I live in. It has widened my worldview and is something I look forward to every week.”
Volunteers visit with their friends for an hour or so each week. Some other activities that our volunteers enjoy with their friends include:
- A friendly chat over a meal
- Taking walks together
- Reading aloud
- occasionally helping with light chores
- Trips shopping or to a local coffee shop
- Any other activity that friends enjoy!
After a referral is submitted, a FriendshipWorks Coordinator will contact both the referral source and the older adult to confirm their interest and collect relevant information. Matching usually takes between two and six weeks after the initial intake. FriendshipWorks staff take many factors into account when making a match, such as location, schedule, hobbies, and even personality. The goal is to find what an older adult and a volunteer have in common, the 'seed" from which a relationship can grow. See our referral page for more details on our matching process.
“Thank you for Patricia. Knowing that she will be coming to visit on Sunday makes all the difference.”
FriendshipWorks Recipient, age 101
How to Apply
FriendshipWorks goes to great lengths to ensure “matches” are favorable for both the volunteer and the older adult. We take into consideration personality, geography, and many other criteria. Apply to volunteer and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll introduce you to somebody special!
To volunteer with FriendshipWorks, please fill out our online volunteer application.
If you have any questions about our Friendly Visiting programs, please visit our Contact Us page for Friendly Visiting Coordinators in your area.