What is Friendly Visiting?
GRIOT’S Friendly Visiting Program is a program under the Thrive NYC initiative and is funded by the Department for the Aging (DFTA) and City Meals on Wheels (CMOW). Out of the 16 NYC Friendly Visiting Programs, our program is the first DFTA funded Friendly Visiting Program (FVP) that directly strives to reduce social isolation and loneliness of NYC LGBTQ+ homebound elders. GRIOT’s Friendly Visiting Program connects elders with a friendly visitor volunteer to meet weekly at the elder’s home for at least 6 months.
What is the purpose of the Friendly Visiting Program?
Unfortunately, because of stigma, homophobia, and transphobia, LGBTQ+ elders are twice as likely to live alone; are more likely than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts to be single and are less likely to have children (Stevenson, 2014). Weekly visitations can provide social stimulation, the co-creation of (inter)generational relationships, and the building of a community that can combat isolation and loneliness. Activities that elders and visitors may partake include: playing board games, reading out loud, discussing art pieces, going for a walk or to a museum, learning about one another’s cultural background, and more!
Friendly Visiting Volunteers
All of GRIOT’s friendly visitors are 18 years and older, screened, and trained to meet with LGBTQ+ elders. Applicants go through an in-person interview, reference checks, background check, and an orientation. Friendly visitors will be receiving ongoing check ins with the Friendly Visiting Coordinator and participate in workshops specific to self-care, and issues that may affect LGBTQ+ elders.
To receive a friendly visitor, elders must be 60 and older, identify as LGBTQ+ or same gender loving, reside in NYC, and have a challenge leaving their home. Elders will go through an in-home assessment with the Friendly Visiting Coordinator. Elders will also receive check ins from the Friendly Visiting Coordinator throughout the ongoing relationship with the friendly visitor, and will be referred to a case management agency if the elder requires additional supportive services.