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Somebody cares

"Being with Brian is the highlight of my week," says John, who has mental health and mobility issues.

Can you imagine what it is like to be a prisoner in your own home? You can't even bring yourself to open the door and step outside? Many Australians experience this type of social isolation but really want to expand their social networks - they just need to make the first step!

Often that first step is getting involved in a Red Cross program, where a trained volunteer is matched with an Australian in need, giving them the opportunity to become true mates.

Pauline and Jasmine share a friendship that offers meaning and value to both their lives.

Pauline is 82. She was born in her house in 1929 and has lived there her whole life. She has never married, has no children and lives alone. Pauline has been matched with a volunteer through a volunteer program since 2007. The visits offer Pauline the regular contact she needs to stay connected to her community and to feel less isolated.

Pauline met her current volunteer, Jasmine, in January 2011. Jasmine visits Pauline every Monday morning and they have a regular routine; Pauline reads the newspaper out loud while Jasmine works on a tapestry. "While I'm reading the paper, Jasmine is doing a little bit of homework (crafts)," laughs Pauline. "She is going to teach me how to do the needlework next," adds Jasmine. It's a friendship that offers meaning and value to the lives of both women.

For many elderly people living alone, maintaining regular contact with other people in their community can be very difficult. Pauline has a nephew and two great nephews who visit when they can, but distance means these visits are infrequent. Thanks to this volunteer program, she enjoys Jasmine's weekly visits and having someone to talk to. She believes the key to a long life is by keeping yourself busy.

Will you assist us to help hundreds of other Australians like John to take a step away from loneliness by making a donation today? You can make a world of difference to someone who needs a friend, someone like John and Pauline.