Recognizing the Value of Volunteers

Helping hands

When you think about a volunteer what comes to your mind?

I see someone who is engaged, aware of his or her community needs and committed to helping others.  Not remaining mere spectators, they step up to the plate to contribute their time, skills, and their knowledge to meet those needs. Continue reading “Recognizing the Value of Volunteers”

We’re looking for “co-conspirators!

Paul P. Falkowski PhD
Paul P. Falkowski, PhD

There just isn’t enough exposure for great nursing home volunteer programs. Most communities have their own newsletters or social media outlets, but where can someone go to learn about programs from a wide variety of communities, all in one place.  The answer: “VolunCheerLeader.com”

This blog is created to highlight great programs and I’ve already identified a few of them, but there are many more great programs out there and so I want to hear from you.  If you are a director of volunteers for a long-term care community and you think you have a great program, let me know about your program and I’ll feature you right here just as I have others.  People in the professions of caring for older adults need to hear about your program. It is my hope that they will be encouraged and inspired to create great programs of their own.

Continue reading “We’re looking for “co-conspirators!”

Baycrest – A Look at a Premier Volunteer Program

Picture of Baycrest marquee
Baycrest – Toronto

For the past 25 years, I have been advocating for people to visit the people living in nursing homes. So often nursing home residents do not get visitors which may lead to feelings of loneliness and uselessness.

Over the last seven years I have been advocating for nursing homes to not only expand their volunteer programs but to expand the role of the volunteer in their nursing homes.

Continue reading “Baycrest – A Look at a Premier Volunteer Program”

Volunteer Programs and Your Public Image

female volunteer with older woman
Volunteers change persceptions…

Perceptions are everything. From my earliest days of military training to the present, I have been taught and now am teaching my own students and volunteers that perceptions powerfully influence the way people think and react.  This holds true for nursing homes as well. Recruiting volunteers is challenging particularly when it comes to recruiting volunteers for nursing homes.

Continue reading “Volunteer Programs and Your Public Image”

Hillcrest Health Services Gets It!

female volunteer with older woman

It is becoming increasingly evident that providing quality of life through “person-centered” care is as much about nurturing meaningful relationships, that include trust, intimacy and empathy between two people. Volunteers, properly screened and trained are in the perfect place to provide that level of care.  Hillcrest Health Services seems to get that!

Continue reading “Hillcrest Health Services Gets It!”

Down Under: Relationship-Centered Care – Part II

As promised here is Part II, sharing what I’ve learned from Daniella Greenwood’s work at Arcare located in Australia.  What is becoming very apparent to me is that caring for someone is not a one-way street.  In fact, the way person-centered care is currently being implemented really only addresses one side of the equation – the care receiver. Read more…

Down Under: Relationship Centered Care

picture of daniella greenwood
Daniella Greenwood

It all started when someone tweeted the link to a video entitled, “It Takes a Community.”  Curious, I clicked on the link to watch it. The video starts off like many promotional videos but about 30 seconds into this video, I realized there was something very special going on here.  The sincerity and authenticity of the people being interviewed was very real. Their passion and love for the people they are serving was riveting. Read on…

Kristiansund kommune

As promised, VolunCheerLeader.com will highlight great volunteer programs and promote the idea that volunteers, i.e., “super” volunteers can take on increased responsibilities to become a trained and meaningful support for professional care staff who are often stressed and overworked, with residents, patients who suffer from what Dr. Bill Thomas calls the “Three Plagues: boredom, uselessness and loneliness.”

Daily, I’m on social media watching for hints of such programs and to my great Emilie Strømmen Olsendelight, this title appeared in Twitter: “Volunteer Service for Nursing Home Residents.” I immediately clicked on it, and Kristiansund kommune (2)discovered Emilie Strommen Olsen, senior program designer for DesignIt.  She and her team developed a nursing home volunteer program for a facility in Kristiansund, Norway.  I immediately emailed heKristiansund kommune (1)r and arranged a Skype interview with her and the administrator of the nursing home, Stephanie Helland.

Continue reading “Kristiansund kommune”

How do you recruit 800 volunteers?

art group in tawa

As you know, VolunCheerLeader  is on a quest to identify and highlight outstanding volunteer programs.  My journey is taking to me many different places to include Auckland, New Zealand.  Recently, while explaining my mission to someone they immediately piped up and said, “You have to meet Jill Woodward, CEO of Elizabeth Knox Nursing Home and Hospital.  After a series of emails, we scheduled a telephone call (Skype) and to no real surprise to me, the person who answered the call, Jill, was obviously full of passion, high energy and expert in her work.  I spent about an hour talking with her.  Later, I had the pleasure of meeting the Kristen O’Reilly, newly appointed to head Community Partnerships. Kristen was originally hired to develop the volunteer program for Knox.  Here are excerpts from my communications with them.  Read more…

“What about liability?”

One of the first questions I get from owner/operators of nursing homes concerning volunteers is, “What about liability?” 

volunteer reading to nursing home resident
My response: “What about it?”

Continue reading ““What about liability?””