The goal of this project is to reduce the isolation of family caregivers by developing a team of volunteers that provides ongoing, informal one-on-one support to caregiving families.
This support may include regular phone calls, email or private social media conversations, getting together for coffee or tea, or visiting with the care receiver so that the caregiver gets a break. This kind of informal social support can be a lifeline to a family caregiver.
This project also encourages a new group of people – those who have finished their caregiving duties with the passing of their loved one – to re-engage with their community by supporting other family caregivers. Such volunteers are invaluable as they have a deep understanding of the joys and challenges of caregiving.
The KIT Project Benefits
This project benefits caregiving families, especially family caregivers who are seniors or are caring for seniors. Caregiving can be a long journey that involves stress, and that can lead to isolation. Having someone friendly and caring keeping in touch along the way can help families feel connected to their community. The volunteer who will keep in touch may phone, visit in the home or outside, “talk” on the internet, or give company to the care receiver so that the family caregiver can get a break.
The relationships that develop between family caregivers and volunteers are mutually rewarding. By meeting caregiving families, volunteers will also gain new connections to their community through helping others.
We try to recruit volunteers from a special group of often isolated seniors – former family caregivers. After the death of a loved one, a family caregiver can feel lost. They had been caregiving for many years and may have lost touch with the skills and roles they held prior, and may feel they can no longer contribute to their community. Keeping in touch with caregiving families may offer some former caregivers a new opportunity to get involved with their community in a meaningful way.
This project was funded by a grant from New Horizons for Seniors.
To become a KIT volunteer, contact Janis at 250-815-0835.