Assisted living communities often hold social events such as ice cream socials and holiday parties for their tenants to enjoy. While the actual employees are busy with their usual care work, it is typically the time and efforts of volunteers that make these kind of events possible.
Volunteering in an assisted living home can involve simple activities like visiting the residents in their rooms or creative endeavors like decorating and organizing a movie night.
No matter what the task, the most important part is that volunteers provide a warm and loving companionship to people who do not necessarily get a lot of visitors. Many families bring their elderly members into a home out of necessity and make time for several visits a week. However, there is an unfortunate number of residents who spend most of their time alone feeling abandoned and unloved. A friendly, caring volunteer can make an indelible mark on the hearts of these people.
A lot of people are put off by the experience because they don’t know what to do when visiting a complete stranger. First-time visitors likely will come to the realization that the resident simply wants someone to listen to their stories and keep them company while they are eating or watching TV. Conversation will likely come naturally, and you may be surprised by how many interesting stories and words of wisdom your adopted grandparent has to offer you.
Aside from providing an open ear, it is important for the visitor to reach out and give the elderly the warmth of your touch. For residents who don’t have family to make visits, the only human contact they get is often from the staff during bath time or doctor visits. Something as simple as greeting someone with a hug or holding someone’s hand can make a huge improvement upon the self-esteem and happiness of an elderly man or woman.
Another good habit is to schedule your visits at regular intervals. If you are able to make it to the assisted living center every day, try to go around the same time. If you can only go once a week, try to go on the same day of the week every time. It is helpful to provide structure in their lives, and if you stay committed to your schedule, the resident will always have something to look forward to. For someone who may feel their best days are behind them, having a regularly scheduled visit or activity to get excited about will keep him or her in high spirits.
How can you get involved? Whatever your particular religious affiliation may be, there is probably a church group in your neighborhood that periodically organizes visits along with other community volunteer work. You could also sign up with a nationally recognized nonprofit, such as Adopt-a-Grandparent or AmeriCorps. Otherwise, you can go independently — just visit a local facility and ask if they need a hand.
Interested in volunteering at assisted living Grand Rapids MI locals rely on to care for them or their families? Visit http://www.clarkretirement.org for contact information and to learn more about us.