Anywhere Else!2022-12-08T04:45:51+00:00

For Volunteers in Other Communities

While as an organization we only work directly with volunteers in Gainesville, Florida, we can still guide you on getting started in your own hometown.

There are several categories of facilities that care for the elderly and disabled.  Although they sometimes go by different names regionally, they can be broken into three categories.

  1. Nursing homes, also known as Skilled Nursing Facilities.  This is the highest level of assistance in long-term care.  There are nurses and aides on staff 24/7 to help occupants with any and all daily living tasks, including bathing, eating, getting dressed, getting in and out of bed, and using the bathroom.  Most residents live with a roommate and have very little privacy.
  2. Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs), which offer limited help with daily living needs.  If a resident of an ALF requires too much care (for example, cannot feed themselves or use the bathroom without assistance), the facility may insist they move to a nursing home.  Many ALFs have private rooms.
  3. Independent Living, where meals, activities, and housekeeping are provided, but little else.  Most residents have a private apartment, can lock their door, some even have a car.

As an organization, we only visit nursing homes. For a number of reasons (one of them financial), nursing home residents are much more likely to not have any visitors and family support.  (But that’s not to say that those in ALFs and Independent Living don’t need visitors too!)

So how do you go about visiting a nursing home? First of all, there’s probably one or more in your community, wherever you live.  A quick google search will help you find one.  Every nursing home has an Activity Director who is responsible for providing entertainment and social opportunity for the residents.  They are usually in charge of volunteers as well.  Simply call the main number for a local nursing home and ask to speak to the Activity Director, and tell him or her that you’d like to volunteer.

The Activity Director may want you to help out with group activities, such as Bingo games.  You might choose to do that to get started, or you could request to do “one-on-one” visits, which is what we have found to be the way to form meaningful friendships with the residents.

You might want to read the volunteer orientation material we use here in Gainesville, as it will tell you more about what your experience might be like.

You may need to be persistent!  Activity Directors are often over-worked, and you may not get a call back the first time.  Don’t give up.  Remember that some facilities might only have one full-time employee providing activities for over 100 residents.

Each nursing home will have different requirements for volunteers. Some will require, for example, an application process, a background check, training, etc. But, believe us, you are needed and it will be worth it!