CRSCâï¿½ï¿½volunteers find work rewarding
Published: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
If you’re ever searching for Bonnie Brouillard and can’t seem to track her down, try looking at Custer Regional Senior Care (CRSC). She spends a lot of time there.
Brouillard isn’t a resident at CRSC, but rather one of a handful of local citizens who volunteer at the various senior care facilities in town. Brouillard spends Mondays at CRSC playing cards with a resident at the facility, and also spends Wednesdays there calling bingo numbers.
Brouillard’s relationship with CRSCâï¿½ï¿½started several years ago, when her mother spent the final year of her life as a resident there. She said the staff was so kind to her mother, that she decided to continue to visit CRSCâï¿½ï¿½after her mother died in 2008.
She recalls her mother, who didn’t want to move into CRSC, was crying when they took her there to live.
“Anyone that age dreaded going to a nursing home. They were so nice to her. I was so impressed,”âï¿½ï¿½Brouillard said. “They made such a big deal to welcome her. It wasn’t too long before she was telling us ‘this is where I need to be.’ I didn’t think I would ever hear her say that.”
Eventually, through her visits there, Brouillard made friends. She didn’t want to lose those contacts she had made when her mother died, so she began to volunteer, and hasn’t looked back since.
“You get positive input. You can talk to them and make their days better,” she said.âï¿½ï¿½“They can be lonesome. They give a lot back. You can be sensitive to what they are going through. I really enjoy going up there.”
Linda Holmes, ADC recreational therapy, Custer Regional Senior Care, said volunteer opportunities are always available in a nursing home setting.
“Many times, people may have thought they would like to volunteer, but not so much on a regular basis, yet would like to do something,” she said.
Holmes said many of the interventions volunteers do at CRSCâï¿½ï¿½vary from resident to resident, depending on the resident’s cognitive and physical skill levels. Some of the most common activities including reading mail, short stories and Bible scriptures to residents, assisting with letter writing, social interaction, playing games, watching sports on TVâï¿½ï¿½together, going for a walk, pet visits, children visits or organizing an activity such as Bingo, discussion groups or baking clubs.
“There are usually many smiles and the residents frequently enjoy the opportunities to reminisce and share their stories, as well as hear about what is currently going on in the community and what is happening in the world news,”âï¿½ï¿½Holmes said.âï¿½ï¿½“It is always fun for the resident, and gives them another perspective, to hear the different stories of what is happening in the world outside of the nursing home setting.”
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