A pensioner from Ballyclare is just one of the many people to avail of the services of a befriending project operated by a local charity.
Chris (92), who has been experiencing hearing loss for a number of years, has been benefitting from the Action On Hearing Loss befriending scheme for almost two years.
On a weekly basis Chris is visited by a friendly volunteer, Maureen Hurrell, who helps make her hearing loss a little bit more manageable.
Speaking to the Times, Chris said: “Maureen is very caring and very kind. She visits me every week and takes me on days out or for a coffee. She takes me to visit friends and also goes with me to medical appointments. She empties the filter on my hearing aid, which is very helpful.”
Maureen, from Randalstown, was a teacher until a brain haemorrhage in 2011 made her life take a different direction.
She said: “After falling down a set of stairs I was in a coma for five weeks on life support, before another two weeks in a high dependency unit. I then had to learn to walk again at Musgrave Park Hospital. Following my time in hospital I went through a dark period in my life for two years, but after chatting with a local priest I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives and make the most of what I could do.
“I began volunteering with Action On Hearing Loss and I would urge anyone with free time to get involved with the charity. It makes a difference in people’s lives to be able to donate whatever time you can. Being part of the befriending service is beneficial to me as well as Chris. Seeing her gives me a boast and it is nice to know that I am making her hearing loss a little bit more manageable. It is doesn’t feel like work, it is a pleasure.”
Maureen added: “I have got to know Chris and her family. With me calling to see Chris every week, it frees up her family and I can give them peace of mind knowing that she will have someone there while they are at work.”
If you would like more information on Action On Hearing Loss or to enquire about volunteering with the charity, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/ or check out the Action On Hearing Loss Northern Ireland Facebook page.