Notes from Nate: Families, Friends, and Volunteers

An RIT student brings a resident to the Community Center for an afternoon with rabbits and Guinea pigs.

Although our newsletter is titled “Families and Friends,” there is another category of people who play a cherished role in the lives of the elders: volunteers. While staff play a central role in the day to day lives of residents at St. John’s, volunteers hold a special place in our organization, especially for the residents who do not have friends or family that are able to visit.

The connection and relationships that people build with our volunteers are so often incredibly meaningful, because those relationships are centered around the desire to be there for someone in need and to help provide in their lives.

Volunteers were instrumental in this summer’s Courtyard Concert Series and Neighborhood Picnics.

At the start of the pandemic, there became a huge wedge between the residents and the volunteers that were part of their lives. As nursing homes bounce back from all the previous years’ challenges, we have been warmly welcoming more volunteers back into St. John’s and celebrate their contributions to the lives of people in our community. Whether it is a group of Rochester Institute of Technology students bringing residents down to participate in fun activities or a single volunteer spending one-on-one time with a resident who does not like large group settings, the contributions of volunteers add so much to the lives and experiences of elders.

Volunteers like Mike Miller lead staple activities at St. John’s Home.

So many of the caring staff members who dedicate their lives to elders started as volunteers. As much as many of us wish that eldercare in in America was more seamlessly interwoven with society, the fact is that our elderly citizens are often separated from the rest of the greater community. If you, your children, your grandchildren, your faith community, civic organization, or social club are looking for something new and rewarding to do, I encourage you consider the idea of expanding your connections into St. John’s or into the nursing home closest to you. You can share your passion for music through group entertainment or spend time one-to-one— listening to the stories from a life well lived. You or a family member may even find a career path that had not previously been considered.

Read St. John’s Home Volunteer Coordinator, Sandy Ferguson’s Story.

Learn about volunteer opportunities at St. John’s.

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