May 4, 2006

Volunteers Making Nursing Home A True ‘Care’ Center

The local nursing home is called the Scotland County Care Center. The name denotes responsibility for residents who receive treatment and are shown concern regarding their conditions. But care also stands for fondness, which is never more apparent at the nursing home than during the organization’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Supper.

The nursing home’s nearly 130 employees work tirelessly to serve the residents of the facility. Their efforts are expanded by hundreds of volunteers that help the facility care for residents, while also showing the residents that they care about them.

More than 70 volunteers were honored by the Care Center April 27th at the special dinner in their honor.

Administrator Kathy Smith praised the group’s efforts to make the nursing home a true care center.

“Without you, our volunteers, I don’t know what we would do,” Smith stated. “If we didn’t have you, there would be so many things that we could not offer to our residents.”

Smith indicated that low reimbursement from the state was forcing nursing homes to rely more and more on volunteers to help insure quality of life for residents.

“We truly rely on our volunteers on a daily basis,” Smith said. “There is no way we could pay all of these people that donate their time to our residents.”

Individuals, church groups and community organizations offer their time in a variety of forms, helping provide activities such as bingo, performing hymn sings and other inspirational services, or simply taking time to come visit residents.

“There is no way I can list all the ways volunteers brighten the days for our care center,” Smith said. “Just like there is no way I could tell you how many people volunteer. There are so many things that volunteers do for us. We just can’t say enough to thank you all.”

Smith estimated that the 70 volunteers in attendance for the special dinner likely represented less than half of the actual number of people that donated time to the facility.

“Some people don’t even see themselves as volunteers, so they may not attend a supper that recognizes them,” Smith said. “A lot of volunteers just see it as something they want to do to bring a smile to the face of one of our residents. What I hope they realize is that every smile they help make is huge as far as the well-being of each one of our residents.”

While many volunteers help entertain residents, raising spirits and bringing a laugh or a smile, more and more volunteers are actually lending a hand to the care center staff in everyday duties.

The feeder program is the biggest example of this trend. Smith indicated that many volunteers have completed the required training to become certified feeders, helping the staff during mealtimes. Smith noted that the Mennonite community had been extremely helpful in this area, with many volunteers taking the time to receive the training in order to volunteer in the dining halls at the care center.

Smith noted that volunteers are welcome to stop in any time to help brighten the day of residents. Anyone wishing to provide regular volunteer service is asked to contact Pat Clary at the nursing home for more information.

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