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A fail-safe resolution for the new year.

Lots of folks are busy wishing they either had or had not promised themselves to change their ways - to make resolutions for the New Year. Now that 1992 is here, some are regretting easily-made commitments when the time to act was "far away." Or so it seemed.

Perhaps you made a visit to someone living in a residential care setting or a nursing home and thought, "I should come and help out here once a month. Maybe I could come even weekly to read to the blind, work with crafts, provide music at lunch, write letters for those persons unable to write any more but who wish to stay in touch with friends."

Here it is, 1992. The Director of Volunteers has called you. "Thank you so much for leaving your name and phone number with the nurse. When can you come in and visit with me so we can find out what you would like to do to help our residents? We have lots of different things you can participate in, but we like to visit first to fit your talents with resident needs. Is tomorrow a good day for you?"

Good intentions! An old saying tells us that the road to hell is paved with them. If you were one of those who visited a health care facility this last year and promised yourself to help, do not be discouraged at your eagerness then to make a commitment for now. It is easier than you think. All care centers eagerly await your call, your visit, your willingness to serve. There are easy things to do and sometimes more difficult tasks, as well. Your abilities and interests will be fitted to the needs within the particular facility you choose.

Rehabilitation for residents in care centers actually involves the presence of volunteers. Many do not realize the tremendous impact their volunteering has on the restoration of a healthier, happier life for persons now living in care centers. Often residents no longer have family or friends who are able to come and visit. Volunteers provide that access to the outside world. Joy and fun come inside with them!

There never are enough hands, enough caring hearts to do the little extras that make life in a care center more meaningful to the residents. During pre-Christmas time, one care center held a Bake Sale. Employees did the baking, and a resident sat by the table and collected the money. Money received went into a special craft project, and everyone had a good time. A volunteer had come up with the idea and organized it. The involvement of the residents was a positive! And the brownies were super-good.

Recently, a volunteer shared the history of his involvement with the care center where he participates. "One day I came to visit a friend (resident) and it was at lunch time. The dining room was bright and cheerful. Everyone was sitting and eating quietly, however, it seemed depressing to me. Then I noticed a piano and organ sitting off to one side. I asked one of the staff if it would be alright if I sat down and played a little. The answer was positive, and so I sat down at the organ and started playing some fun music. Not loud, just providing a bit of background music to the dining atmosphere!

"Residents and staff clapped after each song. Some started humming - some actually singing along to tunes they knew. Before I knew it, fifteen minutes had flown by and I had to leave. When I got up to go, they all laughed and talked and asked me back. The Activities Director came up and asked if I could come back again some time. We agreed I would come every Tuesday at noon. I felt great!"

If you have a talent, a particular expertise that would be of help to others, find a care facility that wants and needs you! Studies have shown that persons who volunteer, especially after retirement, live healthier and happier lives. Being of service to others is what it is all about. You bring a joy to others just by being there. If you are interested, write to us at FAMILY MATTERS and request a free copy of YOU ARE THE GIFT for more information about becoming a volunteer in a care center.

Mother Teresa, by far the most challenging volunteer of our times, said to an assembly of elite physicists and mystics: "We can do no great things: only small things with love." That is the best description of a volunteer - action with love. Life can get awfully boring sometimes. Do avoid the depression of life-get out and help others. Your area care centers are waiting!
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Family Matters; need for volunteer services in nursing homes
Author:Rodvik, Barbara
Publication:Nursing Homes
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Nursing home safety: updating the new federal rules.
Next Article:Somehow, I can't seem to remember.

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