they do have the heart."
Everyone has a problem...everyone. Some of us struggle with our weight, some with an illness, and others with emotional issues. Everyone also has something they feel passionate about that could remedy someone else's problem.
Giving back and helping someone else, is the fastest and easiest way to overcome our own problems and forget about our own issues.
When we put our thoughts and energies into helping someone else, even if only for a couple of hours a month or a week, we don't think about our own during that time.
It's good for the person or cause you are helping and it's good for you...it's a win-win situation for all.
"You make a living by what you get,
You make a life by what you give."
Recently, I became a volunteer for Hospice and Palliative Care of my home county. I was confused about the job I wanted to volunteer for, but after 2 days of training I had a clear picture of where I wanted to spend my time. I want to work with patients who are in their last stages of life.
Most people entering Hospice care are only there for an average of 70 days, that's a little over two months. Many are only in Hospice care for a few weeks or a few days before they pass on. Most have family who check in on them or who stay with them through the dying process, but some don't have anyone or only one person. In my opinion, no one should die alone.
This is an emotional issue for me. I have only begun this journey, time will tell if I am emotionally strong enough to handle death this closely. I feel like I can, but until I actually experience it, I don't know how I will be.
This does not stop me from trying. I intend to be strong and provide the support and encouragement people in the last stages of their life deserve.
I thought about many organizations to volunteer with and will list a few suggestions here, later in this blog post. I thought about animal rescue organizations because I am passionate about dogs and animals. I even considered Wounded Warriors. I have lots of interests and want to help everyone, but I had to choose one.
I chose Hospice because they have helped several family members and friends of mine over the years. They manage their funds well, and they do a lot of good for people.
There is a need for volunteers in many organizations that provide much needed help for people and animals. As we grow older and move into retirement, we have time to do other things - including volunteering. Volunteering is a wonderful way to spend your time and gain new opportunities to learn and grow.
Here are a few areas where volunteers are needed just to get you motivated:
- Hospitals: they need help in many areas. Some hospitals call these volunteers "the Pink Ladies", "Candy Strippers", and "Grey Ladies". You can do everything from manning the information desk, to running the gift store, to administrative duties for the hospital staff such as make copies, coffee, run errands, etc. They also like older people to volunteer to hold the newborns that may have issues, such as premature birth, failure to thrive, unwanted, or sick. Babies recover and thrive when they have human touch and love, 'foster grandparents' can provide this. Call your local hospital and ask about all the programs they offer for volunteers, then pick one you really like.
- Animal Rescue Organizations: this is one area that can always use more volunteers. They need people willing to be 'Foster Parents" for abandoned, mistreated, stray, dogs and cats, birds, etc. The foster home may only be needed for a few days but also may be for a few months until they are adopted. You can Google online 'animal rescue organizations' and you will find several.
- Hospice: always needs volunteers. They provide end of life moral and emotional support for the patient and their families, respite duties for caregivers, office support (administrative duties), event/fundraiser support, telephone and receptionist duties. The work they do is valuable to the dying and the ones they are leaving behind. Contact your nearest Hospice House and ask how you can become a volunteer.
- Schools: they need and prefer older people to read to children, be a 'lunch buddy', crosswalk monitor, classroom teacher support, and many other important duties. Call your local school and ask what volunteer duties they have available, you will be pleasantly surprised.
- Libraries: always need story tellers, shelving books , and other needed duties. Call your local library to find out how to volunteer.
- These are only a few areas where you can get started volunteering pretty easily. Remember when you volunteer you are not only helping another person or an animal, but you are helping yourself as well.
Do you volunteer anywhere? Are you considering volunteering? Do you know of other easy to get into volunteering opportunities? Please share your stories so that others my learn.