By Anna Makar
“It makes me feel good inside when I can put a smile on a resident’s face.” Those words have been spoken by many volunteers who give their time and talents to residents of skilled nursing, assisted living and retirement facilities.
Volunteering also can add fulfillment to the life of a volunteer. Volunteers can provide a wonderful enhancement to a recreation/activity program at any healthcare facility.
At most healthcare facilities there are a wide variety of opportunities to volunteer. One can assist with playing cards and board games, bingo, arts and crafts, pet therapy, sing-alongs and musical entertainment, devotion or Bible studies, trivia and reminiscing times, puzzles, special parties, taking walks around the facility or outdoors, and visiting with residents one on one.
Volunteers can come by themselves or with a spouse or a friend. The residents enjoy the companionship with the volunteers and it helps encourage socialization for the residents. Volunteers can be from local churches, schools, community groups or individuals – it doesn’t matter as long as they are willing to give of their time to make residents happy and enhance their lives.
For example, I know of a mother and daughter pair that did volunteering in a healthcare facility. The mother brought her daughter to call bingo every Friday. The daughter was in a wheelchair due to her condition. Calling bingo was so fulfilling to the daughter, it made her feel needed and helpful. All the residents enjoyed having her there and treated her like their granddaughter. It also made her mother so happy that the residents enjoyed having her daughter help and volunteer.
The amount of time per week for a volunteer in a healthcare facility can vary. Whether an hour per week, an hour per day, or a few hours per week, any amount of time is appreciated and cherished by the recreation staff and residents.
If you would like to give of yourself, consider volunteering at a healthcare facility. All residents would greatly enjoy making new friends to visit with each day.
Anna Makar is admissions and marketing coordinator for National Healthcare in Bluffton.