Receiving a diagnosis of arthritis can be overwhelming, whether it happens at age 8 or 80. Yet for many people, their friends and family will never know that they are living with a chronic condition. Our newly diagnosed phone service means that anyone with arthritis can receive support from a person who understands what they are going through.
Our trained volunteers are there to listen and to advise. They come from all walks of life: each have their own diagnoses and stories to tell. They draw on their own experience with arthritis to support their callers. With a database of 20+ volunteers, we assign clients to the volunteer who we judge to be the best match.
This is not a standard volunteering role. Our phone responders may be asked throughout the year if they are able to provide support for a newly diagnosed client- although we never disturb our volunteers outside of working hours! Before speaking to their first caller, potential volunteers receive training. Those who have attended this training have said that the skills they learn on the course have even been useful outside of volunteering: techniques for dealing with stress and the importance of self-care.
What we can guarantee for our volunteers is this: a rewarding role that will not take up too much of your time; a chance to connect with others living with arthritis; and perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to provide perspective in a newly diagnosed person’s life. As one caller said, “it’s good to have finally had contact with another person with [my form of arthritis]”.
To learn more about becoming a volunteer responder and see how you can make a lasting impression on someone with arthritis, contact Isaac.Parker@arthritis.org.nz for details.