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Ombudsman volunteer Judy Lenk visits with a resident.
Ombudsman volunteer Judy Lenk visits with a resident.

A volunteer opportunity with direct impact

by jmaloni
Fri, Jan 21st 2011 01:00 pm

If you're looking for a volunteer experience where you can have a direct impact on the quality of life for elderly people living in long term care facilities, consider becoming a Niagara County ombudsman.

Funded in part by the New York state and the Niagara County Office for the Aging, the ombudsman program is administered by The Dale Association, and volunteer opportunities are available for residents of both Erie and Niagara counties.

"We are looking for adults to become trained 'ombudsman volunteers' - advocating for the residents of Niagara County adult care facilities (nursing homes, adult homes, assisted living)," says Patricia Quirk, marketing coordinator. "We specifically need volunteers for the facilities located in the Lewiston-Porter, Niagara-Wheatfield, and Grand Island areas."

Quirk reports that as a trained ombudsman (or resident advocate), the volunteer will monitor the quality of care the residents receive in the facility, help them to solve their problems and communicate their needs with the facility. "You can have a positive impact on the quality of life of the residents, in as little as four hours a week," says Quirk. "This is a volunteer experience for compassionate people with good communication skills and a willingness to be of service to the elderly."

Volunteer Judy Lenk calls it a rewarding experience. "When I walk into the facility, I smile and greet the residents and their faces just light up. I help residents write letters and place phone calls, and I work with them to solve any problems they're having while living at the facility. The residents know that I'm there because I care. I find this to be a very rewarding assignment," says Lenk.

The ombudsman training facility and participating adult facilities are handicapped accessible.

The spring 2011 training program is offered beginning March 7. For more information on how to become a Niagara County ombudsman, contact Nancy Smith, ombudsman coordinator at 433-3344, ext. 1.

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