Local buddy system brings care and friendship

Volunteers step up to assist LGBT elders

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The LGBT Aging Solutions Network, a group of volunteer organizers working to raise awareness and create solutions on LGBT aging and elder care issues, recently celebrated its first anniversary. Their first full year has been full of discussion and brainstorming, and it’s in their recently announced “buddy system” where the group is really picking up steam.

Lynne Helms, who serves as a volunteer for the organization’s communications group, hopes that bringing its members together to support one another will help during times of need. It is targeted toward those who are physically challenged, may be alone or a host of other situations.

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Tasks include picking up groceries, stopping off at the pharmacy, as well as others that do not require heaving lifting.

Abating isolation for seniors is an important component of the buddy system program. Volunteers can lessen loneliness by making calls or sending text messages. “Feeling a sense of belonging and the security that someone is aware we are there,” Helms added, provides solace to those who would otherwise experience angst, among other emotions.

The group is working on setting up a calling tree by geographical location. Members are being asked to complete a volunteer form in order to make the program more successful. Simply provide first and last name, email address, phone number, address and whether one would be willing to serve as a lead in one’s area.

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The new program first began to be implemented in April. In May, the network agreed to firm up their plans and begin reaching out for volunteers. Once volunteers are signed up, group members will follow up by phone. The call will be used to familiarize new members with the group’s “Virtual Village” and buddy system concepts. Additionally, the group’s emphasis will remain on the “living in place” concept for older adults.

To learn more, email lchelms@bellsouth.net. To learn more about the Aging Solutions Network, email clt.lgbt.elders@gmail.com. : :

— Matt Comer contributed

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.