Do You Like Sinatra? The Value of Volunteers in Supporting Seniors

Do You Like Sinatra? - The Value of Volunteers in Supporting Seniors by Kathleen Bordelon{Read in 3 minutes} “Do you like Sinatra?” was the first thing our client asked when introduced to his new Friendly Visitor volunteer.

Recently, Michael Feighan, our Director of Volunteers, matched a Friendly Visitor Volunteer with a 92-year-old client. The first thing the client said was, “Do you like Sinatra?” Both Michael and the volunteer answered, “Yeah, we love Sinatra,” and so began a beautiful relationship— starting with a conversation about music. This shared interest in music — Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller — immediately brought them together on common ground. The client had a very rich and accomplished history in the music field in New York and in Stamford, CT, so the conversation really brought the volunteer and this 92 year-old gentleman together.

Volunteers are needed all the time. At SilverSource, client ages range from 60 to over 100, with the average around 74. Currently, our professional Social Work team is handling 120 open cases for seniors in crisis. When a social worker believes a client who is home-bound, or socially isolated, would benefit from our volunteer program, they ask Michael to make a match. Michael uses shared interests and skill sets to match a volunteer with a client.

Volunteers provide an important connection to the community for home-bound seniors. Our social workers are the primary contacts with clients, but our Friendly Visitor volunteers really extend our caring arms into the community. When volunteers notice a change, they provide feedback to us so we can then make a home visit, or call to make sure things are OK.

Living longer, and in good health, depends on a range of factors from economic stability, safe housing and healthcare. It also is influenced by a senior’s sense of social engagement.

Volunteers reduce loneliness and connect seniors to what’s happening. They connect seniors to the world!

For our Sinatra-loving senior, the volunteer is also providing a respite for a caregiver family member, who is not living nearby.

We celebrate our Friendly Visitors who volunteer with clients on a one-on-one basis, but let’s not forget the contributions of so many volunteers here in the office, and those who are helping with golf and other events. They all tell me, “It gives you a great perspective. You really feel valued, and you’re making a difference one person at a time.” So, Hats Off to the SilverSource Volunteers!

Kathleen Bordelon

Kathleen Bordelon

Executive Director

Kbordelon@silversource.org

203.324.6584 x 301

 

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