Are you starting to feel your walking days are coming to an end? Do you worry that your age or disabilities are discouraging you from enjoying our lovely waterfront or Wellington’s interesting attractions? Well, with Age Concern Wellington Region’s Companion Walking Service, there is no need to be missing out.
The Companion Walking Service aims to improve the lives of older people, especially those living alone who may seldom get out of their homes. This may be because they have a medical condition that makes them feel unstable walking alone; they may simply have lost confidence in their walking ability; they may want to go further afield but are afraid it will be too much for them; or they may just enjoy having someone to talk to.
The Companion Walking Service started in 2019 and Wellington is currently the only place in the country that is running this service. Over 60 people use the Companion Walking Service at the present time, with much the same number of volunteer companions. The latter have received full training and have passed police vetting. They must attend a training session on Health and Safety and are encouraged to attend several support/information sessions each year as well.
If your volunteer comes by car, then you may drive to many spots in Wellington where an attractive walk begins — Wellington’s world is your oyster. If no car, then a good map from Wellington Information Centre will show a surprising number of walks nearby. If the weather is bad, then a museum or gallery may be the choice to visit.
For many years, I have enjoyed tramping, then walking from my apartment in Oriental Terrace. But a medical condition was discouraging me from much walking. I missed it – until I met my companion walker. We have driven round to Massey Road and walked to Scorching Bay plus the necessary coffee.
We have admired the tulips in the Botanic Gardens plus the necessary coffee. We have strolled along Petone’s beachfront plus (you get the picture) and planned to see the Van Gogh exhibition in the TSB Arena.
Only $5 is requested by Age Concern for each walk to help cover the cost of the programme. But a donation to Age Concern is always welcome, of course, to help with their wide range of activities for older people.
Judith Doyle (First published in Bay View Online — the bulletin of the Oriental Bay Residents’ Association.)