Year 2020
September 2020

Befriending the socially isolated

September 29, 2020

The friendly smiles, caring voices and warm presence of volunteers are often the only interaction for seniors in C3’s Befriending programme. Volunteers have been befriending the socially isolated seniors through regular home visits. How did they cope when that is taken away?

Visitations put to a halt

During the Circuit Breaker period, volunteers had to stop all visitations for the safety of seniors. Si Ting, our volunteer befriender recalled that she could only remain in contact through phone calls.

However, it was difficult for our befrienders to know if our seniors are really feeling alright without meeting them. Si Ting then decided to call the seniors more often, twice weekly instead of once. As she made her weekly calls, she would check in on their well-being, chat and update them about the Covid-19 situation.

Jia Yi (left) and Christabel (right) spending time with a C3 Befriendee

Jia Yi (left) and Christabel (right) spending time with a C3 Befriendee   
*photos were taken before Safe Distancing measures* 

Jia Yi shared how seniors still prefer face to face befriending. They missed that human interaction as compared to talking to a device. Thankfully, they could transition back to actual home visitations after 2 long months.

However, the first few visitations were not easy. Everyone had to adjust to communicating in face masks 1-metre apart. Befrienders Zhi Ming and Shi Yong shortened their usual kopi time with Mr Leman as seniors are encouraged to stay home. Informing the seniors about such restrictions were not always easy as some were not aware of the implemented guidelines.

Christabel (right) with Mr & Mrs Teo, our long-time volunteers before the Circuit Breaker

Christabel (right) with Mr & Mrs Teo, our long service volunteers before the Circuit Breaker

Yet with the limitations, Christabel (right) found that they are able to engage in longer conversations with each other and got to know the seniors more amidst this pandemic.

Thank you, C3 Befrienders for your adaptability and perseverance as you press on in your friendship with seniors in this pandemic!