Groups Serving Older Oregonians Call for Volunteers
PORTLAND, Ore. — Organizations that serve older Oregonians are in need of some helping hands, and they say volunteers could help folks have a brighter holiday season.
Groups like Elders in Action need people to raise awareness about elder abuse, and the Oregon-run organization State Health Insurance Benefits Assistance, or "SHIBA,” is searching for volunteer counselors to help people sign up for Medicare. Joyce DeMonnin with AARP Oregon said other groups that provide services for older Oregonians kick into high gear for the holiday season.
"For example, Meals on Wheels all over the state ramps up its services to older adults, and many other programs too, because a lot of older adults have lost friends and family,” DeMonnin said. “And so, the nonprofits are filling in for the holiday season."
DeMonnin said the needs span the spectrum. For example, the AARP Smart Driver Program is calling for people who'd like to instruct driver-safety classes. Another state agency, the Long Term Care Ombudsman, is looking for volunteers to respond to the concerns of people in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
DeMonnin noted volunteering can have health benefits for the person who steps up to help.
"People who volunteer tend to be happier and live longer,” she said. “It's that sense of knowing that you're doing something that makes a difference that is such a great feeling - but it's actually great for you."
She added that volunteering can help people, especially those who have retired, make new friends and stay socially connected within their community.