Last week, I met someone in a coffee shop that had worked for fifteen years at a retirement home for the elderly. We had an enjoyable conversation about how several people would come in and request volunteer work or be searching for volunteer services in his area. I could relate to his experience, being affiliated with a non-profit is very rewarding because it enables me to share happiness with others.
Volunteers for the elderly come from all over the planet, each with a different motive or reason behind their desire to care for the elderly. Each is just as important as the next, no matter what sector the volunteer work is in.The man explained to me how one of the most rewarding parts of his job was not just caring for the elderly, but also encouraging others to live more rewarding lives by helping them volunteer for seniors.
Caregiving services for the elderly are in high demand these days, but we believe that the ones supported by volunteers will continue to be the most cherished and rewarding available.When Elder Helpers connects the elderly with our volunteers, the seniors may often will ask if it is necessary to pay them or give them tips. People who have seen both the volunteer side and the elder side of care know that our volunteers are sometimes being helped just as much as the elderly.
They receive an emotionally rewarding experience, that cannot be bought or sold on any market. People in the elder care sector understand that volunteering for the elderly has its rewards and that community service in general is making the world a better place to live and work. By donating your time to help the elderly or volunteering a few hours a week you are contributing to bring our society into a better tomorrow.
It may seem like just one relationship, but it is setting an example for others in your community. Volunteering for the elderly is making progress to change the way that elder care services are operated forever. You are not just helping an elder to live happier and healthier, you are also supporting an organization that is revolutionizing the way elders receive care.
Whether you are doing volunteer work at a retirement community, doing general community service or supporting Elder Helpers you are working with us to make the world a better place. As an elder, your affiliation with our program allows us to find help for seniors in your community. If you are a volunteer, your contribution is the heart of our program and providing essential services for seniors.
What starts as a simple conversation in a coffee shop, develops into ideas that help change the world. With technology, communities and volunteers we can work together to achieve much more than we can alone. Remember that it all begins with an idea, made into a reality by working together. Volunteering for the elderly has helped us to achieve this for volunteers, the elderly and the world.
1. Responsibility must be practiced by always making the best decision to benefit society. We strive to create the best relationships with volunteers and elders, believing that it is our duty to ensure the continuation of our program through your satisfaction.
2. Compassion is at the heart of our operations because we want to make the world a better place and improve the lives of elders across the world.
3. Trust in every aspect of our operations with the public and with respect to international laws and regulations. We not only expect to meet our legal obligations as a non-profit varying across countries, but we have a very high standard for ethics upheld by trust in our daily operations.
4. Generosity of all supporters and staff of our organization which allows us to consistently pursue our mission of connecting elders with volunteers desiring to help them. Without the donations from our respected supporters, our program would not be capable of its consistent growth and expansion.
5. Honor the different cultures, beliefs and practices varying from region to region across the world. Operating on a multi-national scale encourages us to be accepting of all beliefs and backgrounds to provide care for anyone who needs it regardless of their lifestyle.
6. Promise to our supporters that with their help, we will continue to provide assistance to those in need. This means that while you or a loved one is planning for retirement, having access to free care and companionship is one less factor that you need to worry about. Continued support of our mission will ensure the same thing for our volunteers’ future and generations to come.
7. Excellence is put forth in all of our strategies to improve the program for elders and volunteers. Our volunteers may donate their time to our program, but we encourage a high degree of quality in their work because it helps you to have a more enriching experience and we can achieve our mission.
8. Respect of all citizens, especially volunteers, supporters and the elderly affiliated with our organization is vital. We passionately believe that treating everyone with a high degree of respect is fundamental to our operations.
There is a saying, “don’t cry over anything that cannot cry back.” It essentially means, do not place an emphasis on material possessions because they do not matter more than non-material things. Compassion, care and genuine companionship for the elderly are more rewarding than fancy cars, houses or boats. Many people believe this, while many others do not. A person’s true response to this may be best understood in critical situations. There was once a story of a sinking boat containing several very expensive jet planes. Instead of attempting to save a single multi-million dollar object, the top priority was to save the few people on board. To us, this seems like common sense. Saving the people has a reward that cannot be purchased with money, cannot be achieved through collecting a mass of fancy possessions.
There are several people in the world that would choose to save the merchandise instead. They may perceive financial gain to be superior to emotional satisfaction. We are not saying that these people are wrong or bad, just that they may be missing out on our greater rewards. When we talk about our operations with people placing an emphasis on profits with elder care services, they often do not understand our motives. Something that I have been asked is, “Why would you charge just enough money to cover expenses, when you could be making ten times this amount?”
We believe that you understand, striving to provide for the best elder care services gives us an emotional reward greater than money. While some companies strive for revenue and profits, we want to set a good example for the affordable hospices or geriatric providers of the world. We believe that money can take a higher level of satisfaction out of some things in life, which is why we strive to be the option for non-profit elder care in your community by connecting volunteers helping elders. By being affiliated with our program, it means that you understand the greater rewards, seeing past the immediate financial or material gains.
As the elderly age, they become increasingly susceptible to falling and the dangers can be much worse. With aging diseases like osteoporosis decreasing stability and others with symptoms of nausea, fatigue and a decreasing eye sight, we must be alert for potential hazards. A fall or injury that may be considered lightly to a younger adult, can be very harmful to an elder.
So what should you do to keep the elderly safe a protected? The good news is that many falls happen in the senior’s home and could have been prevented if the hazard was removed or precautions were taken. By leaning from previous faults, we can help to create a safe home environment to keep seniors healthy, happy and independent.
To help keep the senior safe, go through each one of these observations in every area of the house and ask yourself the questions. Your response could mean that there are potential hazards in the home that can be resolved, it may only take 5 minutes to be the difference between a safe home and an medical visit.
Once the steps have been taken to create safe home environment, you can also help seniors to prevent falls and stay independent by taking extra steps according to disabilities or aging diseases. Many of these steps can be done both outside the home and inside the home and could have a tremendous benefit on their health and overall wellbeing.
If a senior has osteoporosis, it may help to work on balance exercises in the home. These can be learned at the local senior center and more information can be found in the Elder Helpers’ guide to caring for seniors, the Caregivers Guide to Compassion. They can also use a cane or walking assistant in the home, many are available online or at your local retail stores.
For vision problems, speak with the senior’s eye doctor about solutions that can be taken outside the home. When the elder is at home, you can increase the lighting during the day, leave lights on at night and clear unnecessary objects from the walking paths. The specific assistance depends on the level of severity for a loss of eyesight, if it is much worse, the elder should consider also staying away from driving activities and obtaining a dog trained to help her.
There are many steps that you can take as a caregiver to help seniors to stay healthy by prevention. However, if a fall does occur and they cannot get back up without assistance, they should be able to easily call for help. If a senior owns a cellular phone, make sure that they have it on them at all times in the case of an emergency. It is important they if they need help, they have access to it and if you are not available they can call another person as a backup.
In an earlier post, (Early Stages of Alzheimer’s: Helping Elderly Parents through Understanding) we presented the signs of early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly and how taking immediate action can help the elder and the family in the long-term. We are optimists at Elder Helpers and believe that with adaptation and care from the family, people can still live happy and fulfilling lives when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We will present strategies for you, the caregiver, to help the elder achieve this and enable your non-medical care to be the most rewarding and effective as possible.
We have broken down the care for Alzheimer’s into three categories: prevention, protection and support:
Kick the smoking
It has been shown that smokers or alcohol drinkers have a mental decline faster than people who do not engage in the same activities. Avoiding smoking and drinking can also help prevent other aging diseases.
Eat Healthy & Exercise
High blood pressure has been linked with reduced brain function. Eating healthy and exercising can also help to prevent or alleviate diabetes, another serious aging disease.
Stay Mentally Active
Many believe that by exercising the mind by practicing math or learning a new foreign language can strengthen it by giving the brain cells generated during the day a reason to ‘stick around’.
With protection, we mean keeping the elderly and caregiver in a safe environment by taking simple steps that anyone can follow to enable the elder to stay safe and independent. Later stages of Alzheimer’s can especially dangerous for both the seniors and the caregiver, during this phase you are advised to seek medical attention.
Try to keep their routine simple and easy to understand. You can try creating a spreadsheet of activities with dates and times, posting it on the refrigerator to help them remember.
Keep Your Message Simple
Try repeating the key points several times if necessary or using non-verbal communication to convey your message. You may also write down the message and give to the elder, or touch their hand when speaking with them if you have a close relationship. These strategies may help them to remember the message that you are sending them.
Know the ‘Quirks’
Target the behavior changes or actions that the elder may have and find preventative measures to take and help keep them safe. Some elders may consistently misplace their keys, adopt strange eating habits or other abnormal behavior. When you understand them, you can take measures to reduce the consequences and help them to live a productive life.
Experiencing Alzheimer’s disease is not easy for the elder, the family or their caregiver. It is important for not only the elder to know that they have support, but also those affected by the aging disease to understand that there are resources available.
Dementia Treatment Guide : A free, downloadable PDF from the University of California Davis with more information on dementia for elders and their caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Support Forum: : A free forum to connect with other families or Alzheimer’s patients or gain support or first hand knowledge about the experiences of the aging disease.
Elder Helpers: A non-profit program that connects elders with volunteer caregivers in their community.
Our non-profit organization connects the elderly with people desiring to help them. At this time, the people seeking assistance using the Elder Helpers service are required to contact volunteers by phone. We believe that this is the best method, because it is very personal, but sometimes those calling can have a difficult time finding what to say.
In this post, we will present tips for you to follow so that you can contact the caregiver that work best for you. We want you to not only be satisfied with finding the best volunteer for you, but also be happy when you are being helped by them. Follow these three simple and easy tips to make a smooth transition into the perfect volunteer – elder relationship:
It is very important to stay relaxed and friendly. When we speak with others, our own emotions tend to be reflected in the person we are speaking with. They react to how we are behaving around them, so just be calm and be yourself like you are calling a distant friend.
Do not get discouraged when contacting caregivers if you do not get an immediate response, give them a few days. Because volunteers are contacted by phone, some people are not available at all times, may have disconnected phone numbers or other issues. We strive to maintain an accurate volunteer database for subscribers.
Remember that our volunteers are safe and have background screenings. They have joined our service because they truly desire to make a difference in their community. It is of the utmost importance of our organization to make you happy, healthy and above all, safe.
Are you interested in assisting an elder near you? Click the following link to volunteer for the elderly in your community.
Care about your important volunteer position in order to provide the best help possible. The more that you care about helping the elderly, the more emotionally rewarding and meaningful the experience will be. Demonstrating that you are concerned about providing help for the elderly will show them that they are respected and valued.
Compassion in actions through understanding. The elderly sometimes have difficulty communicating or mobility restraints and it is important to not get frustrated. Remember that it is not their fault; it is just part of the aging process. By reading the Caregivers Guide to Compassion, you can understand what the elderly may be experiencing to provide the best experience for you and them.
Trust must be established with every relationship from the beginning. It should grow and strengthen with time. It is the foundation to all great relationships, your building blocks to success. By maintaining integrity with the elder, you can gain their gratitude and the satisfaction of helping others.
Reliability demonstrated in the relationship by arriving at a previously agreed upon time and consistently. The elderly can become accustomed to a daily routine and interrupting it can cause stress and anxiety. Being reliable in this context means keeping your promises, mainly with scheduling. While your visits may not be the most important activity on your agenda for you, it may be for the elder.
Respect of the beliefs held and lifestyle lived by the elder that you care for. Our organization operates around the world, honoring all backgrounds and we expect volunteers to do the same. This is for the best interest of you and the elder. Achieving this may mean some personal subjects like religion; political beliefs or finances are better left unmentioned.
Genuine companionship and care should be provided for the elderly. We believe that this is possible by not accepting money for yourself or our organization. You are very smart because as a volunteer, you understand that there are more satisfying rewards when you provide authentic compassion.
Safety should be practiced and not dismissed when volunteering for the elderly. This may include taking preparation before engaging in athletic activities, sustaining a healthy diet or ensuring that the home is free of potential hazards.
Honesty should remain among the most important factors in your relationship. It is the quality that binds the code together, allowing the relationship to flourish and your care to be the best available. There are no exceptions to not being honest or compromises for integrity.
Friendship will develop over time when the ethical code is practiced. You may not need to take special measures, just be yourself and the relationship will prosper. This is a result of your compassionate care and companionship over time.