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3 Tips for Introducing a Friendly Visitor

volunteer and senior bonding
Companionship and assistance are proven beneficial at any stage of life for physical well-being and mental health. However, inviting someone into your life can be overwhelming and very sensitive, especially for family members who are used to operating independently. Here are our top tips for making a smooth introduction.

seniors and a volunteer looking at a laptop

1 - Focus on a project

What’s a project Mom has been talking about wanting to do, but putting off? Many families have been meaning to organize old family photos into an album or even digitize them. Others have paperwork they’ve been neglecting for a long time.

Having a project with a goal in mind can make the addition of a friendly visitor or companion much easier. Jane T. in Palo Alto said, “My mom loves getting new Apple products but struggles with learning how to use them. Finding a patient, kind, and tech-savvy companion to help her was the perfect solution, and now they’re buddies, doing lots of other stuff together.”

2 - Celebrate a shared interest with a local

Telling Dad that a student from San Jose State with a passion for fly-fishing wants to come meet him is much more appealing than a general description of companionship.

We’re always striving to find matches based on a common bond, so those first awkward tensions just melt away into great conversation. Even for someone with a cognitive impairment, focusing on what they’ve loved throughout their life is a great way to bond.

For Sarah F. in Berkeley, this has been a lifesaver. She says, “My mum used to love playing the piano. She has Alzheimer’s now, so I thought music could be a way to reengage. We found a companion who loves playing classical music and performs for her when they spend time together. Mum adores it.”

3 - A mutual friend stopping by

Often having a companion or friendly visitor come by for a first visit doesn’t have to be the topic of a big conversation up front.  It's best when the visitors understand these are very sensitive dynamics for families and can go with the flow.

If you’d like to have them stop by a local cafe or bump into you and your loved one on a walk, that can be a low key first meeting to get a sense for the right fit. Like Sharon C. in San Francisco experienced, “Mom is super friendly, but she’s really suspicious whenever I try to do things for her or suggest help. So I had a Mon Ami companion meet me in a restaurant for lunch, and I brought Mom along. They got along really well, and Mom wanted to see her again later. It was much easier than I thought.”

Mon Ami's Platform Supports Friendly Visiting for Seniors 

Companionship is essential for people of any age, but seniors feel more socially isolated on average than any other age group. At Mon Ami, we help local organizations match seniors with local community members for friendly visiting so they can spend time together engaging in activities appropriate for each individual. It’s a simple way to make sure your loved one’s social needs are being met. Social isolation is a big issue for young people, too, so everyone wins when we bring people together. If you have more questions about companionship and how to talk about it with your loved one, let us know!