Better Together, a new program of Lutheran Social Services was designed to improve quality of life activities for older adults. The program will begin in January 2015 and aims to have 20 pairs in its first year. Trained volunteers will be matched with an older adult based on similar interests and schedule. Volunteer and older adult matches will spend four hours per month together going on outings, talking, pursuing hobbies, and other relationship-building activities.
Today, there are 26,000 people in the Sioux Empire who are age 65 or older. Of that group, 46% live alone. Nationally, researchers have found that feelings of loneliness can contribute to reduced physical health, cognitive decline and dementia and more.
“We have been able to see the difference that a volunteer can have on a child through our School-Based and USucceed Mentoring Services,” said Michelle Madsen, LSS Mentoring Services Director. “We’re looking forward to replicating those relationships with older adults in the community who need that extra support and friendship that a volunteer might be able to provide.”
Individuals, families, or small groups can volunteer for the Better Together program. At least one member of the group must be over the age of 18. Older adults interested in being matched with a volunteer must be 65 years old and live in their own home or apartment. There are no guidelines other than age for older adults to participate in the program. Volunteers must successfully complete a background screen and an orientation training before they are matched. More information about the Better Together program, please contact LSS at 605-221-2403 or email Mentoring@LssSD.org.