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Volunteers enhance nursing homes residents' lives

Norma Najacht
Published: Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Former Rose Haven resident, the late Toots Schriner, plays with Sage, her dog who visited her almost every day while she was at Rose Haven. Schriner loved those visits and was often more focused on her “Sagie” than the people who visited.

 

This is the second article in a series on volunteering in nursing homes)
By Norma Najacht
In most cases, they’ve raised their families, had a career and been involved in their churches, their communities and their schools. 
In many cases, their mates are now gone, their children live elsewhere and they are not able to get around like they used to. 
Not only have they seen sweeping changes in the world around them in their decades on this earth, but they have also experienced changes in their bodies that limit their interactions with that world.
When they move into a nursing home, out of sight and often overlooked and forgotten, the elderly in our society now are largely dependent on volunteers to provide the social interactions that give meaning to their lives. 
Both nursing homes in Custer — Custer Regional Senior Care and Rose Haven — welcome volunteers and there are many opportunities to do so.
Although Custer Regional Senior Care has about 50 people who volunteer, probably about one third of those people volunteer only two times a year, according to Linda Holmes, activities director.
“We definitely have opportunities for people to volunteer,” Holmes said. That includes volunteering for not only organized activities, such as parties, bingo and church services, but also walk-in volunteers, she said.
The numbers of volunteers have lessened, she noted, “because they are now our clientele and the new generation is different.”
One thing that is lacking is talent out of the community,â��Holmes said. “We can never have enough for the residents, whether that’s musical talent, sing-a-longs or someone who plays the piano. Those areas have really dwindled and they are things the residents really love.”
Many groups have been faithful in volunteering their time and talents, she added. There are eight churches that rotate to bring church services, including communion, to the residents at Custer Regional Senior Care. Various church groups also bring their youth groups to sing for the residents and spend one-on-one time with the residents. The local ministerial association has been really committed to the residents and has provided strong support to them, Holmes said.

This is the second article in a series on volunteering in nursing homes)

In most cases, they’ve raised their families, had a career and been involved in their churches, their communities and their schools. 

In many cases, their mates are now gone, their children live elsewhere and they are not able to get around like they used to. 

Not only have they seen sweeping changes in the world around them in their decades on this earth, but they have also experienced changes in their bodies that limit their interactions with that world.

When they move into a nursing home, out of sight and often overlooked and forgotten, the elderly in our society now are largely dependent on volunteers to provide the social interactions that give meaning to their lives. 

Both nursing homes in Custer — Custer Regional Senior Care and Rose Haven — welcome volunteers and there are many opportunities to do so.

Although Custer Regional Senior Care has about 50 people who volunteer, probably about one third of those people volunteer only two times a year, according to Linda Holmes, activities director.

“We definitely have opportunities for people to volunteer,” Holmes said. That includes volunteering for not only organized activities, such as parties, bingo and church services, but also walk-in volunteers, she said.

The numbers of volunteers have lessened, she noted, “because they are now our clientele and the new generation is different.”

One thing that is lacking is talent out of the community,â��Holmes said. “We can never have enough for the residents, whether that’s musical talent, sing-a-longs or someone who plays the piano. Those areas have really dwindled and they are things the residents really love.”

Many groups have been faithful in volunteering their time and talents, she added. There are eight churches that rotate to bring church services, including communion, to the residents at Custer Regional Senior Care. Various church groups also bring their youth groups to sing for the residents and spend one-on-one time with the residents. The local ministerial association has been really committed to the residents and has provided strong support to them, Holmes said.

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