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Volunteering with seniors

Posted August 20, 2014 in Advice Column, Winterset

Once you become a volunteer, you will wonder why it took you so long to make the decision to do so. There are few things in this world that give one more satisfaction than to bring a smile to another. Assisting another person obtain a better quality of life, even for a short time, is a rewarding experience you will never regret.

To get started, you may want to schedule a visit to an assisted living or a long term care facility with the activity director on duty. Upon visiting, be sure to smile and say hello to the folks who reside there. Remember that you are entering their home. When visiting the activity director, ask lots of questions, taking note of what openings are available, whether it be a one-time event, or a scheduled monthly activity. Depending on the activity, you may need to find out what materials the facility can provide and what you will need to bring. This will ensure that things run smoothly.

You may choose to share your talent with a group, or a one-on-one approach may be more to your liking. Some volunteer efforts don’t even require that you leave home. You may choose to sew walker bags (a large fabric pocket that holds items and hangs from walker). There are other items as well that are much needed that can be sewn. You may choose to bring other people with you to share the experience — children are especially appreciated. Picture the residents enjoying a jug and bottle band or skit.

Imagine the look of elation on the face of your “adopted grandparent” when you walk in to visit him or her. The activity director will be happy to share many more ideas to assist you in finding you niche.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 50 percent of nursing home residents have no close relatives and 46 percent have no living children. These two facts are a major reason why an estimated 85 percent of nursing home residents never have visitors.

Is it any wonder why it is so rewarding to visit and volunteer with the elderly? We can all improve the world — one smile at a time.

Statistics comment borrowed from

Information provided by Valerie McDaniel, social services coordinator, QHC, Winterset Care Center North LLC, 411 E. Lane St., 462-1571.

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