Projects by The Senior Connection
Impact AreaSupport Seniors
Volunteer Group Name & URLThe Senior Connection of Montgomery County
Organization Served & URLseniors in the community
Project Goal/DescriptionThe goals are to assist senior citizens to live as independently as possible by assisting them in getting to their medical appointments, going shopping, helping with their personal correspondence, filing/bill paying, and language translation, if needed. Also, another goal is to have someone who is reliable and can be called on within a reasonable timeframe to assist in getting these folks where they need to go. Another component is to stay at the medical appointment and/or shopping until the care receiver is finished. There are also optional friendly visits and phone calls. You can get assigned to one person but the typical routine is to find the person who is geographically closest.
Timeline for Planning
No planning is done by the volunteers because the Senior Connection staff does it. But volunteers are required to attend an orientation where we review the policies and procedures of the program and give them their first volunteer assignment.
According to volunteer Harriett Platt, at the end of each month, volunteers need to fill out a form for Senior Connection about what they did for each person that they helped and they send it in so that the organization can keep track of what volunteers are doing. Also, the night before, volunteers should call the client to confirm.
How Many VolunteersVolunteering is done one-on-one, so even one person is very helpful. If the fit is not right, you can request to have another care receiver. Time commitment is flexible. If you decide you only want to do it once a week, that’s fine. Usually it’s 2-3 hours per week.
How Was This Publicized to Recruit Volunteers?That is all done through the Senior Connection office – they have newsletters and a website and a small staff.
Required Facilities, Materials & Expenses
Project supplies: Gas and other car-related expenses are borne by the volunteer (though usually this is not much). Care receivers are encouraged when they can to make a small donation to the Senior Connection because it gives them dignity to understand that they are not just taking services.
Challenges-That the care receiver feels comfortable with the volunteer (this can usually be overcome because Senior Connection matches people based on prior conversations with the care receiver). -That the care receiver maintains his/her dignity in terms of allowing the volunteer to assist them and to understand that they need the assistance.
Strategic Priority AddressedVital living for all our residents
Result-Strong friendships -An opportunity to learn about different cultures and people from different countries -"I have driven 14 or 15 people, maybe more. One was an Indian lady who had cancer and later died and I was basically the only person who she knew in the area and it was an extraordinary exchange of ideas. She taught me a lot about her culture and I taught her a lot about Jewish culture," said Platt. -Younger generation who are close to retirement or are looking for a satisfying experience find this to be very satisfying because they know at some point they will need the help too. -This one-on-one interaction makes the community stronger. -Many senior citizens want to share their life stories, tell about their families and grandchildren and you become a friend, not just a driver. -An elder person cannot have too many friends because often times family members are too busy to listen to the stories. -You can learn something new every time that you spend time with the care receiver. -The care receiver feels comfortable calling the Senior Connection for help because they are given great comfort.
Special Points of Interest
-Keep your own copy of all driving-related miles because they are tax deductible as a charitable donation.
-Open your heart and learn from these people and from your interactions with the care receiver.