Are you looking for a new way to put together a social calendar? Imagine this. Every day residents get up in the morning, have their breakfast and then look to see what’s happening that day on their social calendars. Instead of seeing the usual, bingo, bus trips, games or strawberry socials, they see an abundance of opportunities to volunteer.
I have a dream that goes something like this. At 10:00 there’s a group gathering to knit socks and blankets for the nearby shelter as winter is coming on. At 11:00 am there’s a meeting being held to brainstorm ways raise money for a much needed new palliative care wing at the town’s hospital. Residents have come up with an idea called a “Wheel-a-thon”. Kind of like a “Walk-a-thon” but using wheelchairs.
Then after lunch yet another opportunity to contribute. This time it’s a group of residents and volunteers who meet every week to review the list of those that are socially isolated in their community. They pair up to make weekly visits to develop relationships and drawn those isolated into the community.
Just before dinner there’s an ‘Artists for Life’ group with residents living with more advanced dementia who love to paint. They sell these painting to raise money for the local Alzheimer’s Society. Every day on this new calendar are an abundance of opportunities like this to serve others.
A Volunteer Prescription
But it doesn’t stop there. Those residents who are looking for something to do are given a prescription by their recreation staff to help others. Literally given a prescription on a piece of paper.
The prescription reads something like this:
“Resident name: _______________. Rx: Volunteer and help someone in your community. Another resident, a staff member, anyone. If you don’t know anyone who needs help, comfort or support, come back and see me. Dosage: Daily. Repeat: 12 months
I can dream, can’t I?
Submitted by Kristine Theurer, MA (Gerontology)