Make a Connection Program Volunteer
Volunteer Types: Companionship/Visiting, Health Care, Mental Health, Outdoor activities (landscaping/gardening)
Organization types: Community and Social Services, Disabilities, Health and Diseases, Public/Society Benefit, Senior Citizens
Long term (6 months to a year)
Application Deadline: May 30, 2024
Posted on:

Time Commitment: The time commitment can vary to meet volunteers’ availability and interest.
Approximately 1 visit or call per week for at least 6 months- Visits are typically between 20 minutes to 1 hour
Occasional one-off requests to be communicated by your supervisor as needed
*plus additional time communicating online with supervisor as needed
*plus attending online general orientation and training
Supervisor: Volunteer Coordinator and the Make a Connection Program Supervisor
Location: Ottawa and Renfrew County (client and volunteer are matched based on location)

Program Description:
Volunteers play a crucial role in both companionship and helping people age in the place of their choice. Research has been able to link social isolation and loneliness to be as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Tiwari, 2013).

At the same time, nearly 100% of Canadians, including people living with dementia wish to remain living at home as they age (Pandemic Perspectives on Aging in Canada in Light of COVID-19: Findings from a National Institute on Aging/Telus Health National Survey).

The Make a Connection program provide volunteers with opportunities to build companionship with people living with dementia and help to facilitate safe aging in place. Visits are mostly conducted in-person, but can be also over the phone.

As a volunteer, you will receive training and guidance to prepare for this important role and are matched with a client based on aligning schedule, language, and, where necessary, accessibility or proximity to one another. Visits are typically 20 minutes to 1 hour on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on the client’s preference and capabilities. The activities that make up these visits can vary from conversation, listening to music, reading aloud, sharing photos, or going for a walk, to helping a person living with dementia to learn how to use technology for reminders or wayfinding. Whichever the activity, you will find this to be a rewarding and meaningful experience.

Depending on the volunteer’s skills and availabilities, you may be occasionally requested to assist with simple household repair tasks or provide technological fit-up for the people living with dementia in their area.

Primary Role and Responsibilities:
o Communicate with caregiver as needed to arrange the details surrounding visits (date and time, materials needed, etc.)
o Communicate with supervisor to provide updates on clients, forward questions, and offer feedback
o Prepare and conduct visits
o Coordinate and prepare any particular items needed for your visit (photos, music, videos, a list of the client’s interest, etc.
o Provide troubleshooting support to those experiencing technical difficulty
o Engage with participants and maintain enthusiasm, compassion, and patience
• There is also an opportunity to provide assistance on one-off, short term projects which may include:
o Assistance with technology set up and training (setting up a new tablet, Google Home, Alexa, universal TV remote, etc.)
o Setting up the home for optimal navigation and function (e.g. printing and posting signs, labels, and lists; organizing kitchen space and cupboards; setting up a “memory centre”/white board/calendar, etc.)
o Basic home modifications for volunteers with home repair experience (e.g. installing grab bars and railings)

Qualifications and Skills:
• Professionalism and a positive disposition with excellent interpersonal skills
• Compassion, understanding and awareness of dementia
• A valid (within last 6 months) Vulnerable Sector Check is required, which we will help facilitate
• Reliability – able to honour scheduled commitments
• Discretion – must maintain confidentiality of all participants
• Bilingualism an asset

Selected applicants will submit a volunteer application form, followed by an interview and reference check as part of the application process with the Volunteer Coordinator. Successful applicants will be provided with onboarding and role-specific training.

Volunteer location:
Virtual and in-person 500-2327 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa, ON K1G 4J8


Jeffrey Huang
@Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County
Time it will take to contact applicants:


This position would be great for: Adults, High School Students (14-18), Seniors (65+), Young Adults (19-24)
Number of Positions Available: 30
Good for people interested in: Companionship/Visiting, Health Care, Mental Health, Outdoor activities (landscaping/gardening)
You will be helping with: Disadvantaged, Men, Persons with disabilities or medical conditions, Seniors, Women

Volunteer Considerations

  • Vulnerable sector check required
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