As the fall season begins, and winter is peeking around the corner, it’s time to think about our elders living in North End. Many elders in the neighborhoods of Boston and Brookline area face isolation and loneliness on a daily basis. FriendshipWorks is a nonprofit organization that creates friendships for isolated elders by matching them with volunteers who visit them on a regular basis.
“The purpose of our volunteers is to provide friendship to our elders by doing exactly what friends and family would do for each other,” said Janet Seckel-Cerrotti, Executive Director of FriendshipWorks. “As a volunteer you’re their friend, you’re their support, you’re their champion.”
FriendshipWorks’ goal is to reduce isolation and provide friendly support and assistance to the elders they serve. There are a number of other ways to be involved with FriendshipWorks. Friendly Visiting involves visiting elders in their homes to provide companionship and assist with simple household tasks or errands; Medical Escort Volunteers accompany elders to medical appointments; Friendly Helpers provide short-term assistance to community elders when they need a little help such as clothes shopping, picking up prescriptions, or running errands; and PetPals provides pet visits to local nursing homes.
All of FriendshipWorks programs are provided to elders in Boston and Brookline for free. Recently, FriendshipWorks began a pilot music program in Jamaica Plain to bring the joy of music into the lives of the elders they serve.
“Music can create joy, bring people together, as well as having the ability to bring back memories,” said Seckel-Cerrotti. “Through this pilot program, we aim to make a difference in the quality of life for many of the elders we serve.”
FriendshipWorks (formerly MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers) is a network of trained volunteers that provide support and assistance to elders in Boston and Brookline. With 30 years of experience recruiting, training, and placing volunteers for this purpose, FriendshipWorks’ mission is to decrease the social isolation, enhance the quality of life, and preserve the dignity of elders. FriendshipWorks partners with congregations of all faiths to identify people who need assistance and find volunteers who share the organization’s goal of helping a neighbor in need. FriendshipWorks cooperates and shares referrals with area hospitals, long-term care facilities, health, government, and human service agencies. www.fw4elders.org