One of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities is the Ombudsman Program. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is a resident-focused advocacy program. The Ombudsman volunteers are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, assisted-living facilities and similar adult-care facilities. They work to resolve problems of individual residents and to bring about changes at the local, state and national levels to improve care. While most residents receive good care in long-term care facilities, far too many are neglected, and unfortunate incidents of abuse do occur.
Trained volunteers regularly visit facilities, monitor conditions and care. Volunteers provide a voice for those unable to speak for themselves. In-depth training gives these special volunteers the tools and information necessary to assure the frailest individuals of their basic rights to the services and care they deserve. The coordinator provides monthly in-service meetings with training to make sure everyone is kept up-to-date on changing issues. A small time and mileage stipend assists with the cost of travel to our local facilities.
So if you have time on your hands and would like to assist with older adults, please call us. We will discuss your options and go from there. Thank you for considering us when you decide how you would like to spend your time.
Nancy Dingee is director of the Schoharie County Office for the Aging. ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/seniorscene.