RIO GRANDE — Are you looking for an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others? If so, the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. (AAA7) has an opportunity for you or someone you know who may be interested in helping provide a voice for residents in long-term care nursing facilities.
Through the AAA7’s Volunteer Ombudsman Program, these special helpers visit nursing home residents on a regular basis to provide them with a link to the outside world. Through these visits, Volunteer Ombudsmen help to lessen the isolation and loneliness many residents experience. Volunteers also provide an essential voice for residents, providing advocacy and assistance for those who have concerns about their care.
Volunteer Ombudsmen plan their own schedules, are permitted to visit any day of the week, and are provided hands-on training and technical assistance by the AAA7’s Ombudsman Program Staff. Volunteers are recognized during an annual event and invited to various AAA7 training programs and conferences at no cost.
Doug McCoard, a Volunteer Ombudsman from Pike County, who also volunteers in Scioto County, feels that he has made a difference for residents of nursing homes who are unable to speak for themselves.
“What I like best about my role as a Volunteer Ombudsman is that I have the opportunity to not only speak for residents, but also provide residents with the encouragement and assistance to speak for themselves. It’s what keeps me going back every week — knowing that I am providing a voice for residents who may not feel they have one.”
Gallipolis resident John Brewer feels he is giving back to the community when he volunteers his time in the Ombudsman Program.
“I experience a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction through my time as a Volunteer Ombudsman,” Brewer comments. “I am always welcomed with open arms by residents I come in contact with as they know I have their best interests at heart.”
Volunteer Ombudsman Ronda Bivens, of Vinton County, also has great things to say about her newly acquired volunteering role and the opportunity she has to help others. “I always enjoy my wise, wonderful, and thoughtful conversations with residents,” says Bivens. “Many residents are lonely and need to feel they are still valuable members of society.”
“Volunteer Ombudsmen are invaluable to the AAA7 Ombudsman Program and the residents they serve,” says Kaye Inoshita, RN, Director of AAA7’s Ombudsman Program. “Through their wonderful service, volunteers provide a regular presence in our large ten-county service region while assisting with concerns regarding resident care.”
If you are interested in volunteering for an organization that makes a difference in the lives of others, please contact Cindy Oakes, Volunteer Coordinator, or Kaye Inoshita, toll-free at 1-800-582-7277.