A person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service. “Merriam-Webster”
It could be you!
Seasons Adult Day Health Services is an example. I got an email from Renee Pope, CTRS.
Here is what she said:
For the next few months we will focus on activities, at Seasons this is where we truly shine! Activities are the “things we do,” like getting dressed, doing chores, playing cards, even paying bills. They can be active or passive, done alone or with others. Activities represent who we are and what we’re about. Planned activities can enhance the person’s sense of dignity and self-esteem by giving more purpose and meaning to his or her life. Activities can also help reduce behaviors like wandering or agitation.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when doing activities with people with dementia.
Focus on enjoyment, not achievement
Find activities that build on remaining skills and
Encourage involvement in daily life
Activities that help the individual feel valued
can provide a sense of success and accomplishment.
Relate activity to work life
A former office worker might enjoy activities that
involve organizing, like putting coins in a holder,
helping to assemble a mailing or making a to-do list.
A farmer or gardener may take pleasure in working
in the yard.
Look for favorites
The person who always enjoyed drinking coffee and
reading the newspaper may still find these activities
enjoyable, even if he or she is no longer able to
completely understand what the newspaper says.
Change activities as needed
Try to be flexible and acknowledge the person's
changing interests and abilities.
Stress a sense of purpose
If you ask the person to make a card, he or she may
not respond. But, if you say that you're sending a
special get-well card to a friend and invite him or her
to join you, the person may enjoy working on this task
Don't criticize or correct the person
If the person enjoys a harmless activity, even if it
seems insignificant or meaningless to you, you should
encourage the person to continue.
Encourage self expression
Include activities that allow the person a chance for
expression. These types of activities could include
painting, drawing, music or conversation.
Substitute an activity for a behavior
If a person with dementia rubs his or her hand on a
table, put a cloth in his or her hand and encourage the
person to wipe the table. Or, if the person is moving
his or her feet on the floor, play some music so the
person can tap them to the beat.
Try again later
If something isn't working, it may just be the wrong
time of day or the activity may be too complicated.
Try again later, or adapt the activity.
You all do a fantastic job and we greatly appreciate you!
Renee Pope, CTRS
Seasons Adult Day Health Services
In Midland Michigan, on Thursday I go to Senior Services and I go to the Dublin Club. The Dublin Club is a program for persons that have memory loss. I am one of those persons and we go there one day a week for 10 meetings, then we have a break. Last June 2011 at the break, Renee and Erin asked me if I would like to volunteer in another program in Seasons Adult Day Health Service. I asked what would I do and she said it would be watering the plants once a week. I said YES, I was very happy that someone would think that I could be worthy. In the summer, we watered the inside plants and then go outside to water the garden. We didn’t do just the flowers, there were veggies, fruits and herbs. When we went out, there was more outside watering flowers, and also watering veggies and fruit. When I say “we” it means that a person in the day care will help me. They may be walking, sitting under the porch, stopped to talk, watering plants, picking fruit and veggies and maybe one or more will stop to eat food. There is a lot of laughter out in the garden.
There are many ways to volunteer: hospitals, military, religions, children, community, education, environment, health, mentor, homeless, women, virtual disaster, hunger and more.
We have chosen throughout our lives-volunteering-not knowing we were volunteering. Going back, did you help your friend when he fell down off his bike, did you help him up? You just chose to volunteer! Or, did you sit with your girlfriend when her Grandmother died and you held her hand? You volunteered! You chose to volunteer when you went in to the Military. You chose to volunteer to help someone else.
My Grandmother died one year after I became a nurse. Grandma did not want to go to a nursing home. We promised that she would stay at our home. My mom, sister and I took turns caring for her. It was a struggle. Mom and Penny went to work one day and I just got home from the night shift and I looked into Grandma’s bedroom and she was sleeping. I went to lie down across from Grandmas bedroom. She needed to go to the bathroom, so I got her to the bathroom and then got her back to bed, she went to sleep. About an hour later she was not doing well. When I tried to talk to her, she was mad at me. She was crying and didn’t think that I loved her,that we put her in a nursing home and it was raining on her. I told her she was home, I loved her, there was no rain, and she told me that I lied. She would not believe me, I started to cry. I called Dr. Stevens' office and his wife answered the phone (she was also a nurse). She calmed me down. Then she said to me, “Sara, I will leave at noon and will be there with you”.
I was a nurse and could not help my Grandma. I could not do both. And Jean did. She told me to go to bed. When I was sleeping she started to call people from the church to take turns to stay at our home until I would wake up to help. That was volunteering! God Bless them. Grandma died 3 days later.
Everyone can be a volunteer. Ask in your mind what you would want to choose? We can look at the newspapers, TV, friends, family, at work, church and just look around you.
I saw in the newspaper and TV that anyone can come to Big Boy Restaurant to share your thoughts and ideas. That was in September 1982, a group of concerned citizens organized Hospice of Bay County.The first time I volunteered was after my Grandma died. I was going there with my co-worker and my friend, Gracia at the Hospital and another friend, Verlyn from the church came. Because of the help at our house I needed to pass it on. The 3 of us were in the first group to take training, there were approximately 54 volunteers and helping 31 families. The youngest patient was under two years old and the oldest, over 80.
Now it is June 2012. I have two Granddaughters who will be volunteering this summer, Jessica will be helping children and Cali will be at the Field Neuroscience Center. My sister Penny and I are volunteers. at the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Michigan Chapter, Central Michigan Region. The address is 4604 N. Saginaw Rd., Suite F., Midland, MI. They can also be reached at alz.org/gmc and 800-272-3900.
Everyone has something to contribute and you can say, “You are still ok, you are alright, someone still cares for you, and you are still loved”.
Words: volunteering, helping, willing, caring, loving, touching, reading, cooking, walking, laughing, singing, sharing stories, listening. What words would you use?