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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why is there a need for a LGBTI specific Community Visitor Scheme?

Older LGBTI individuals may have limited supportive family networks, significant fear of discrimination while accessing aged care and may not be able to access their community. Our volunteers can help to make older LGBTI people feel accepted, less isolated and safe in their environment.


Who may receive a visit from an Out & About Volunteer?

To be eligible to receive an Out & About volunteer visitor, a person must identify as LGBTI and be receiving a Home Care Package or be a living in government funded residential aged care 

Eligibility for Home Care Packages and residential care is by the Aged Care Assessment Service. This can be arrange by calling My Age Care 1800 200 422. If you are unsure whether you’re eligible for a volunteer visitor, please call our Out & About Coordinator.


My aged care provider doesn’t know that I’m LGBTI, can I receive a visitor?

Please contact our Out & About Coordinator to discuss your privacy concerns. In many cases you may still be able to receive a visitor.


I am in residential care, but I’m under 65, can I receive a visitor?

Yes! Although the program is aimed at older LGBTI people, our volunteers are happy to visit younger people who meet our eligibility criteria


I am receiving council HACC services, can I receive a visitor?

Unfortunately no. At this stage we’re not funded to provide visitors for those on HACC services. However, you’re welcome to contact our Out & About Coordinator who may be able to refer you to other programs for older LGBTI people.


How do I request a visitor?

Eligible people can be referred to our program via their Home Care Package or residential aged care provider. Alternatively we can accept self-referrals, or referrals from family members. If you would like to make a referral, please contact our Out & About Coordinator.


What happens after a visitor request is made?

Our Out & About coordinator will contact the referring party as well as the aged care provider for further information. Next, the Coordinator will organise a time to meet the older person and discuss the program and their needs. A suitable volunteer will be selected from our volunteer pool based on location, any preferences expressed by the person, and common interests.  The Out & About coordinator will arrange and attend the first meeting and if all parties are happy with the match visits will continue on a regular basis.


How often are the visits?

Our Out & About volunteers usually visit weekly for an hour, or fortnightly for two hours. Volunteers are asked to commit for a period of at least one year.


Can visitors help me with my household chores?

No. Our volunteers are there for social activities and friendship only. If you need additional help at home, please contact your aged care provider.


What about Privacy & Confidentiality?

Our volunteer visitors must respect the rights of the person they visit including privacy, confidentiality and dignity. As well, those receiving visits will also be required to respect the rights of the volunteer visitors. Contact the Coordinator if you wish to discuss further or for a copy of Switchboard’s Privacy Policy.


Is this a free Service?

Yes! There are no fees for this service and all of our Out & About community visitors are volunteers. However, if the visit includes a movie or lunch at a cafe, both parties will need to pay their own costs.


I live in rural or regional Victoria, can I receive a visitor?

Yes! We’re funded to provide volunteers Victoria wide.


Who are your volunteers?

We have a dedicated group of volunteers who are 18 to 80 years old and have a variety of backgrounds and interests. They receive training on their role, responsibilities and issues that may affect older people. We’re a peer based service, so most of our volunteers identify as LGBTI. If no appropriate LGBTI volunteer can be found, we may occasionally accept volunteers who do not identify as LGBTI but have a good knowledge and understanding of LGBTI people.


What a visit might look like?

Your visits are what you make them. The primary aim is to build community connections and reduce isolation through social activities that are mutually enjoyable. You might like to sit and chat about current affairs, walk to the local café, watch a movie together, tell each other stories from your life, or participate in a hobby, game or other activity.
Volunteer visitors are there for social activities only and should not engage in any other care activities such as shopping, cleaning or personal care. If the visit recipient needs additional assistance, they should speak to their aged care provider.


What are the benefits of volunteering?  

Some of the benefits of volunteering are: Developing friendships with older people; giving back to and supporting LGBTI community; enhancing a person’s quality of life; gaining experience working with older people & aged care services; building connections with other volunteers; learning about LGBTI ageing through professional development & support sessions.


What are the challenges of volunteering?

Some of the challenges of volunteering are: Learning to communicate with someone who may have a different communication style; finding activities that are enjoyable for you both; Managing boundaries – being able to say no when the visit recipient asks you to undertake activities that are outside your role; Making time for regular visits


What skills are required?

As you will be working with vulnerable people, volunteers are expected to demonstrate the highest level of ethical conduct. Some of the skills required in this position are: A commitment to building and sustaining a friendship with an elder LGBTI person over an extended period of time; strong communication skills, including listening skills; empathy; respect for the person’s beliefs, background and culture; willing to seek advice, as appropriate


What training do volunteers receive?  

Our Out & About Volunteers receive training in LGBTI ageing issues, their role and responsibilities as a visitor, the rights of visitors and care recipients, loss and grief, managing boundaries, administration requirements, code of conduct and occupational health and safety issues. We also run regular professional development sessions on topics relevant to LGBTI ageing.


How much time do I volunteer for?  

Volunteers are expected to visit weekly for 1 hour or fortnightly for 2 hours, with a minimum of 20 Visits in a year. Volunteers are expected to commit for 12 months.


I’m over 65, am I too old to volunteer?  

Never! We’re very happy to take older volunteers.


I live in rural or regional Victoria can I volunteer?

Yes! We’re always happy to hear from people in rural or regional Victoria who would like to volunteer.  You will be matched up with someone in your area, so you don’t need to worry about travelling too far.


How are the volunteers matched with people requesting visitors?

Volunteers are  matched based on location, common interests and any preferences expressed during the visit request process.


How do I become a volunteer?

If you would like to volunteer with us, please contact us


Out & About FAQ