Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us! As a volunteer, you are a vital part of our team effort to enrich our community. By giving of your time and talents you can make a significant difference in a resident’s feeling of well-being and purpose.
Many of our residents have some form of dementia, so it is important for you to understand the basics of this disease and how to handle! The symptoms include loss of memory and inability to perform routine tasks such as losing one’s way in the neighborhood, difficulties in job performance and language problems. Most of our residents have good long-term memory and will be able to talk with you about their lives and their history. However, they do not have good short-term memory so they may ask you the same question over and over…just continue to answer their question with a smile.
They may get confused and tell you they need to leave to get to their job, or they need to get in the car and pick up their kids from school, or they are waiting for their husband to pick them up to go to dinner. Don’t try and argue and rationalize with them; instead, try and redirect them with something like, your husband is picking your kids up from school, so you do not have to worry. Try and comfort them and calm the agitation.
If you are ever uncomfortable with a situation with a resident don’t hesitate to get a staff member. That is what we are here for! I want to make sure that your volunteer experience is always a positive one.
Ways to Volunteer
- One-to-one visits, examples are reading, games, cards, listening and conversing.
- You may assist residents to and from activities in their wheelchairs and may walk beside them.
- You may help with group activities such as Bingo, Ice Cream Socials, Tea Time, Group Games, Crafts, Happy Hour, Manicures, Exercise and Special Events.
- You and/or your group may provide a program such as Crafts, Parties, Singing or other Entertainment, Manicures, Baking, etc.
- Call the Activities Director or other staff if you are ill or unable to volunteer at your scheduled time.
- Keep facility up-to-date with any change of address or phone numbers.
- Wear clean, modest clothes and comfortable shoes.
These reminders can help your volunteer experience be great for everyone!
- Sign in the “Sign-In Folder”.
- Wear a Volunteer Badge with your name on it. They are next to the Sign-In book.
- Let the Activities Director or other supervisory staff know that you are here to volunteer.
- Wash your hands.
- Leave valuables in a safe place.
- With the Residents
- Identify yourself as a volunteer.
- Address residents by their formal name or by the name they have asked you to use.
- Wash hands between resident contacts.
- Comply with residents’ dietary restrictions (ask Activities Director or Supervisor on duty). If you get permission to bring food, touch base with staff to make sure you know about the diabetic needs of some of the residents.
- Converse with residents at their eye level whenever possible.
- Try to keep conversations pleasant and uplifting.
- Politely refuse gifts from residents or families.
- Speak clearly.
- Initiate conversations with a greeting, smile and a compliment.
- Avoid controversial, threatening, or distressing topics of conversation.
- Avoid making promises you might not be able to keep.
- Never go into a resident’s room without a staff member present at all times.
- Try to mingle, interact and promote resident participation
- Keep instructions simple and clear.
- Praise accomplishments.
- Stay on task.
- Have good energy and be positive.
- Inform residents before moving their wheelchair.
- Check to free wheels from resident’s feet, clothing, or other items when transporting.
- Encourage residents to keep their hands on or inside hand rests when transporting. Use a slow, even speed and smooth turns when transporting residents.
- Set wheelchair brakes after stopping.
- Immediately report any injuries or accidents to staff.
- Immediately report any health or safety concerns to staff.
- Never transfer a resident, for example, from a wheelchair to a regular chair. Let staff do that.
- Work with the Team
- Eat, rest, smoke or drink only in areas as directed by your supervisor.
- Use visitor or staff bathrooms only.
- Bring any questions or concerns to your supervisor or the next appropriate person available.
- Ask before using phone for personal calls or texts.
- If working in the kitchen, talk with the supervisor before you begin helping. Imagine Wellness provides gloves and hairnets if needed.
Even though the residents may request your help with the following situations, Resident Safety and Liability dictate that you must refrain from assisting residents in these areas:
- NEVER assist a resident in or out of bed or their chairs. You can put their call light on for them or ask a staff member to help.
- NEVER assist a resident to the bathroom.
- Please do not feed residents or bring gifts of food with first checking with the supervisor.
- NEVER discuss a resident outside of the facility.
- Confidentiality is a must!
- Volunteers may not take the resident from the facility grounds.
- NEVER give medication of any kind.
- DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HELP A RESIDENT UP WHO HAS FALLEN. CALL STAFF IMMEDIATELY.
- NEVER GO INTO A RESIDENT’S ROOM WITHOUT STAFF!!!