EATON — Imagine what it’s like to lose your freedom, your home, the life you have known—just because of age or disability. This doesn’t have to happen, not if people like you volunteer a few hours of your time.
Through our Volunteer Program we do our best to match volunteers with specific skills and interests, with opportunities to help older and possibly disabled adults maintain their independence, avoid isolation, and discover that someone still cares. A few hours of your time can make life worth living again.
Throughout the year, we prepare holiday food baskets each December for those in need. We serve refreshments at Whispering Christmas at Fort St. Clair. Volunteers help with the Thursday Night Weekly Dance, Home Delivered Meals, “Senior Day” and other events and activities throughout the year. Volunteers help at the Senior Center with the mailing of the bi-monthly, “Senior Scene” newsletter, and serve as a host/hostess in our Decade’s Diner. We match you with a volunteer position that you will enjoy, and we wouldn’t have such an amazing community without our volunteers.
Helen Winkler, who helped me with an administration project said after, “Thanks for the opportunity (to volunteer) it helps me feel useful.” Helen, also volunteers once a month as a caller for Friday Bingo at the senior activities center.
In 1985, older adults accounted for 11 percent of the U.S. population.
By 2010, they were 13 percent. More than 40 million Americans are now age 65+.
By 2030, as the last Baby Boomers turn 65, older adults are expected to reach 20 percent of the population. After that, the proportion is expected to level off, but the absolute number of individuals age 65+ will keep growing.
Living to 85-plus
In 1900, only 100,000 Americans lived to be 85+
By 2010, that number had grown to 5.5 million. This is the fastest growing age group of elders.
By 2050, the 85+ age group will reach 19 million – 24 percent of older adults and five percent of the total population.
Some researchers will say the 85+ group will grow even faster than this, because death rates at older ages will decline more rapidly than the U.S. Census Bureau predicts. Needless to say our aging population is venturing into new ‘aging’ territory, living longer than ever before, and our need for volunteers is growing.
Can you volunteer a few hours to deliver lunch to your neighbors?
The Preble County Council on Aging provides Congregate and Home Delivered Meals to seniors in Preble County. Our Home Delivered Meal program is accepting volunteer back-up drivers to work three hours a day delivering meals to seniors in Preble County. You will drive your car, and receive mileage reimbursement. You will have a dedicated route, and you can work, one, two, or more days per week, or just one day per month. Meals are delivered Monday through Friday, except holidays.
Mark and Ellen Metzger volunteer to drive meals one day a week during the winter months. When I asked them why they volunteer with us, he replied, “We like connecting with others, and seeing them smile. Sometimes we get a chuckle from the clients, which makes my day, and I think theirs too.” Mark also volunteers with our Senior Companionship Program so he can spend more time with a senior.
Gardening in summer
Each spring we look for individuals to help with gardening/lawn work at the Senior Center. This would include planting spring flowers, starting an herb garden, planting vegetables for use in our Cafe’, pulling weeds or mulching, etc. Each year we have garden space available on the Senior Center grounds. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Those persons with garden space are responsible for taking care of their own garden space, planting, weeding, etc. If this suits your fancy, your gardening services are welcome here!
Hostesses and cashiers
The Decade’s Diner is always accepting volunteers to be a host/hostess that greet and help seat people for lunch, and do light cleaning. Welcoming people into the diner and educating the new comers is important and necessary.
Our Senior Companionship Program is the volunteer program with the biggest need. This program helps seniors stay in their homes and live independently by providing assistance with tasks of daily living, and offering friendship and emotional support. This service provides in home companion and/or a daily telephone reassurance phone call. If you have the time and energy, or know someone who does to be with a senior we welcome your volunteer services in this area. We have several seniors in our rural parts of the county as well as in town that truly may not see or speak with a single person in a day or more. We have a waiting list of seniors eager to connect with someone that wants to give back in this way.
Last but not least, we have our dear Judy Smith, 2016/17 Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year. For those of you that come to the senior activity center and/or the weekly Thursday Night Dance, you know Judy. Her quick wit, smiling face and tenderness is truly an essential part of our center. We are blessed to have her as a volunteer, and so grateful to all of our volunteers because our center could not run as smoothly as it does without their help.
Remember, by choosing to connect with seniors, and people in general every day, we become a healthy, thriving community of all ages. And, a few hours or minutes of your time can make life worth living again.
To stay up to date on all of our activities, trips and senior news sign up to receive our bi-monthly newsletter the “Senior Scene.” Membership at the Senior Center is $10 a year. In addition to other benefits, members automatically receive our bi-monthly “Senior Scene” newsletter which features all our latest news and activities, additional benefits are discounts on trips and select activities. Like our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountycouncilonaging/ or give us a call at 937-456-4947. Visit our website at www.PrebleSeniorCenter.org. Resource of this article: “Expand Your Cirlces” by Eldercare Locator.