When Jeanette first volunteered with Age Concern Wellington Region for the Companion Waking Service, she didn’t really know what to expect. She looked forward to meeting her new walking companion, and hoped there would be a connection between them. She also knew there may not be a connection, and she tried to convince herself that would be fine too. Helping someone, anyone, to go outdoors and enjoy a little nature was enough for her.
Age Concern Wellington Region coordinators matched Jeanette with Mable. Jeanette’s client, or walking companion, is a very sweet lady. “There’s a wonderful connection between us,” Jeanette says. “Mable is kind and very appreciative. She’s shy, but we’ve learned to lean on each other for friendship as well as for walking stability. It’s a wonderful match – I never expected to enjoy this as much as I do.”
Jeanette often walks the route before picking-up Mable, just to make sure there are no obstacles along the way. She searches local tourism brochures and the Internet to find new walks to take Mable on. Their favourite walks are along the Hutt River or the Esplanade in Petone.
“When I met Mable, she hadn’t been out for a walk for months – except for doctor’s visits. She says she’d forgotten what the sea smells like. I’m so glad I was able to help her enjoy nature again.” Jeanette not only brings much joy to Mable each week through their shared walks, but she is contributing to Mable’s overall wellbeing. Mable’s physical and mental health improves with every walk.
Many of the clients who benefit from this service are not confident about their walking and are often a little shy about it. Sometimes they have some cognitive impairment, but most of the time they’re just unable to walk safely without a little assistance. Age Concern Wellington Region is pleased to provide this service to seniors around the Wellington Region, including Lower Hutt. If you or someone you know might benefit from the Companion Walking Service, please call 04 499 6646 for more information.