Volunteers are needed by The Dale Association to serve as long-term care ombudsmen, working as advocates for residents at 15 nursing homes in Niagara County, including Northgate and Elderwood at Crestwood in Wheatfield.
Thorough training will be offered Oct. 1-4. Ongoing support and mentoring is provided. Volunteers work a minimum of four hours per week.
David Fay, a recently retired union carpenter, was looking to give something back to his community when he learned about the ombudsman program.
As an ombudsman volunteer, Fay feels like an arbitrator, helping to resolve issues and problems for residents in a local facility.
"Even though the administration and staff are wonderful to work with, there are still issues that arise and I'm here each week to help them. When you get to know the people for yourself, you want to help even more," he said.
Shirley Walk, an ombudsman volunteer since 2006, was looking for a volunteer opportunity where she would be in the field working one-on-one with people. Six years later, she is still making a big difference in peoples' lives as an ombudsman.
"The job is as simple as listening with both ears, observing what's going on, and then following up on any issues that arise. I recently went to bat for four residents who were having privacy issues. The administration installed privacy curtains and the four are very pleased," she said. "We're very fortunate to have such caring staff at the facility where I volunteer. When I ask for things on behalf of the residents, I'm happy to say I've been very successful."
To inquire about becoming an ombudsman volunteer, call Nancy Smith, program coordinator, at 716-433-3344, ext. 1.