Bingo Night has been rescheduled! Please see below for the updated information.
Matchmaking is a great concept for February, the month of love. But hold on, because Better Together makes matches with a twist we know you’re going to love!
If your parents or grandparents live far away, you know it can be a challenge to spend time with them like you used to. But loneliness can be a real issue for you and for them. Here in our community, Lutheran Social Services has introduced a solution called Better Together.
Lutheran Social Services-SD started the Better Together program in January, 2015. The program aims to match local independently living older adults, whom they call neighbors, with volunteers. The main purpose of the relationship is to get the older adult more active in the community and receive a companion to help ease any feelings of isolation and loneliness.
For a volunteer to get started, they need to first complete this APPLICATION. LSS will process the application and complete all necessary background screens. When that is done, each volunteer meets one on one with our Better Together Coordinator for a 90-minute volunteer orientation. Volunteers can be individuals, couples, families or small groups. At least one volunteer must be age 18 and be present at all meetings. Volunteers commit to meeting with their assigned neighbor for at least four hours per month for a minimum of one year.
Together, matches can go out to eat, go to community events, talk and play cards at the neighbor’s home or do whatever their imagination takes them!
If an older adult is interested, they must first complete this INTAKE FORM. When completed, the LSS Better Together Coordinator will be in touch to set up a home visit. They will visit with the older adult for about an hour to explain the program and make sure this is something that will work for them.
When a match is made, LSS will set up the initial meeting and be present to ensure all goes well. After the first meeting, matches can schedule meetings at times that are convenient to both the volunteer and neighbor. LSS coordinates a monthly activity that all matches are invited (but not required) to attend. Events range from social gatherings to community service projects to attending community events. LSS also provides ongoing training and support to both volunteers and neighbors throughout their participation in the program.
Would you like to get involved? There are currently about 30 matches meeting and several older adults waiting for a volunteer!
Bingo Night has been rescheduled!
You are invited to learn more about Better Together at a fun social event, Bingo Night! It’s THURSDAY, MARCH 2 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the Lutheran Social Services Office located at 705 E. 41st St. in Sioux Falls. REGISTER HERE to be a part of the fun!
Please read on below for just SOME of the profiles of cool grandpas and grandmas who are waiting to be matched with a neighbor!
Harriet is an 81 year old who lives on her own in a duplex. She enjoys gardening, and has plenty of flowers or fruit/veggies to share! Harriet is a former RN and also ran a cleaning company for quite a long time. She joined Better Together to get someone to talk to and have for a new friend, as all of her friends have passed away. While in Better Together, Harriet would like to visit, learn new things, go out for meals, go out to community events, or even go to concerts.
Diane is a 66 year old who lives with her cat, Wilma, in an apartment. While she does have some family in the area, including a mother who lives in an apartment in the same building as Diane, she would like to meet someone to spend time with outside her family. While in Better Together, Diane would like to go to the zoo and enjoy different activities that come up around the community. She is even open to taking part in volunteer opportunities with a volunteer!
John is a 64 year old man who lives alone in his independent apartment. He joined Better Together because he is lonely, and would like somebody to talk to. While meeting with a volunteer, John would like to go to movies, go for drives, watch TV, or just sit and talk.
Steven is an 80 year old man that lives with his wife in their home. Steven’s wife is his full-time caregiver, and has been for 25 years after Steven suffered a debilitating aneurysm which impaired his physical functioning. Prior to the aneurysm, Steven enjoyed hiking, hunting, fishing, and being outdoors, but is unable to do any of these due to being in a wheelchair. After his aneurysm, Steven started to write poetry, and has a large binder full of inspirational poems. He enjoys sitting and talking, and loves to tell stories. Steven would like a volunteer to come meet with him for an extra social connection over the weekend.
Paul is a 68 year old man that lives with his family. His family has been resettled in the United States; with Paul moving to Sioux Falls in August 2015 to be near his daughter. Due to being new in town, Paul does not know any people in the community. He also suffers from lingering affects from a stroke he had, which complicates him meeting people. Paul joined the Better Together program to meet someone new. While in the program, Paul would like to get out of the house more, go shopping, learn the city bus route, go to the movies, and learn about Sioux Falls.
Ester is a 77 year old who lives on her own with her cat Ollie. She enjoys a variety of hobbies on her own and with groups at Sunnycrest. While working, Ester worked as a CNA at nursing homes, and then worked in nonprofit offices. She was interested in the Better Together program because she “gets lonesome” throughout the week and would enjoy making a new friend. A self-professed homebody, while in the program, Ester would like to chat and tell stories with a volunteer without going out and about too much.
Daphne is a 73 year old who lives on her own in an apartment. She has lived in Sioux Falls for 20 years; before, she lived in North Dakota. Daphne is a retired Nurse’s Aide, who also worked as a day care provider and apartment cleaner. She is interested in the Better Together program because she cannot go out much, thinks it would be nice for the company, and would like to get out of the apartment. While in the program, Daphne would like to go to movies, go out to eat, play cards and games, and do some different creative projects.
Sophia is a 74 year old that lives independently in her own apartment. She enjoys going out to eat, reading romance novels, and playing games on her iPad. Sharon is currently playing quite a few people on Words With Friends! She recently gave her car to her grandson, and would like to meet a volunteer that would enjoy going out to eat as much as she does. Sophia’s favorite restaurants are Fry’n Pan, The Keg, Pourhouse, and Applebee’s. Currently, Sophia uses a motorized wheelchair to get around.
Charlotte is a 70 year old woman who lives alone. She is a retired housekeeper who has lived in Sioux Falls for about 11 years. Charlotte joined Better Together to be able to get out more. She can still drive, but recently sold her car. With her volunteer, Charlotte would like to go shopping, to “just get out of here (the apartment) for a while,” go out to eat (Charlotte enjoys Fry’n Pan and Marlin’s), or go see a “happy” movie.