Through this program, trained volunteers who have a special interest in working with seniors offer ongoing support to older adults who are clients of the Seniors Mental Health program. The objective is to assist in maintaining the optimal level of independence for clients. This is done through individual contact and/or group work with clients that are socially isolated and may be experiencing the early stages of dementia or depression. Clients are referred by Case Managers of the Seniors Mental Health Program at Interior Health.

One-to-One Client Work

Senior Support Volunteers provide emotional support and socialization for individual clients. They are another set of “trusted eyes and ears” for the Case Manager. Activities that the volunteer may do with an individual client include:

  • Weekly visits at the client’s home
  • Being an empathetic, active listener
  • Accompanying and/or driving the client to and from appointments or errands
  • Accompanying clients to special social/cultural events
  • Volunteers do not do any personal care, housekeeping, giving of medications nor do they deal with any legal, financial or property issues.

Group Work

Coffee/Craft Group – “Busy Bees”

This is a weekly socialization group for clients – Tuesdays from 1:00– 3:00 pm.
Three staff members take a leadership role in organizing and running the group.

Volunteers’ roles in this group include:

  • Transportation of clients to and from the group
  • Reminder phone calls to clients
  • Assisting staff with snack/crafts
  • Socializing with clients

Wellness Group

This is an educational group for clients who have experienced depression and are learning strategies for their wellness. The group runs for 10 weeks (1 session/week) and is held twice a year (fall and spring). Volunteers transport clients to the group and back home.


Volunteers in our Senior Support Volunteer Program attend a comprehensive training program provided by the Family Resource Centre Society for the North Okanagan. Training covers topics such as:

  • Helping Relationships
  • Empathic Listening and Responding
  • Communication Skills
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Grief & Loss
  • Safe-Mobilization
  • Boundaries

Upon successful completion of the training, Senior Support Volunteers are asked to contribute 75 volunteer hours to the program. You will receive support through monthly meetings that include education and collaboration with the Seniors Mental Health Team. In addition, the Coordinator of Volunteer Services will always be available for follow-up, supervision and ongoing support.


If you are interested in utilizing your valuable life experiences and would appreciate the opportunity to make a real difference in the life of a senior, please contact our Volunteer Services Coordinator Tracy Anderson at You will be contacted for an interview upon review and receipt of your application.

I liked the interaction amongst the group and the facilitator. All concerns and questions were addressed before proceeding.

The warmth and personality of the facilitator made our sessions very cozy and intimate allowing us to get to know the group we were taking the course with and feel comfortable when it came to Q and A.

There is a very warm supportive atmosphere in the group, which was a direct result of the kind of tone set by our facilitator. I also appreciate the professional attitude of the training.

I liked the socializing and relaxed environment of the sessions.

I liked the lecture type of education with paper document back up.

The information was well presented.

I liked learning about how to treat a client, boundaries, etc.

I liked learning about empathic communication.

I liked learning about how to redirect people’s negative thoughts.

I learned how to be more empathetic rather than judgmental. A skill that is learned through example and practice – very well addressed in class.

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