ALLEN COUNTY — In an effort to provide better social services to the region’s elderly population, the Area Agency on Aging 3 is using a $170,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to recruit up to 100 volunteers to be shared among multiple organizations.
From providing legal protections to house visits, the newly established senior volunteer corps will enable AAA3 to expand a number of programs created to aid seniors.
The senior volunteer corps consists of people over the age of 55, who may be retired or approaching retirement, looking for ways to give back to the community. AAA3 CEO Jacqi Bradley said the organization has already recruited 37 people, and they are looking for more.
“Volunteering is the best thing to do in the aging process, to help others live a quality life,” Bradley said.
Members of the corps will be involved in various tasks throughout the community. For example, the caregiver respite program will send a volunteer to spend a few hours taking care of an individual to give caregivers of a senior a break.
If a volunteer, however, is looking for a more extensive task, he or she could work as a volunteer with the Lima Area Long Term Care Ombudsmen who work out potential legal troubles between nursing homes and the rights of its residents. Volunteers would require training and certification to participate.
The Lima Police Department is also working with the AAA3 volunteers to provide social lifelines to homebound elderly individuals who may fear leaving their homes or lack access to social services. Volunteers would spend the time getting to know seniors identified by the department and ensure they have what they needed.
“Volunteers would regularly check on them, teach them safety practices and show them programs, help link them to other services in the community,” Bradley said. “Social isolation for elders is a very risky problem, and this will help a lot for elders whose families may have moved away.”
“For community policing to succeed, it depends on good partnerships. So that’s why when Jacqi asked us for the partnership, it seemed like a natural fit for the community-oriented policing efforts of the police department,” said LPD Chief Kevin Martin.
Other tasks volunteers could participate in include teaching chronic disease self management and fall prevention, putting disaster preparedness kits together and taking part in neighborhood block patrols.
Those interested in taking part in the senior volunteer corps can contact coordinator Miranda Ridenour at 419-222-7723 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.