SARCOA recruiting volunteers to help Wiregrass seniors

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 3:27 PM CST
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The Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging provides services for senior citizens in seven Wiregrass counties.

One way the organization serves is by ensuring seniors in long term care facilities are receiving proper care.

“Studies show that the more interaction a resident in a nursing home has the better quality care they get, and also just having more social interaction that has a lot of benefits in itself,” says SARCOA human resources and marketing specialist Jessica Barefield.

With dozens of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and only one ombudsman SARCOA is recruiting volunteers to be a part of its Friendly Visitors Program.

“It's just like going to visit your own grandmother. You go in ask her how she's doing, talk to her and if there was like an issue or something that you heard about you would just report it back to the ombudsman at SARCOA,” says Barefield.

Investing a few minutes out of the day could change the life of a senior.

The idea is to increase the contact between nursing home residents and making them feel more a part of their community that they are getting visitors and that someone is looking out for them,” says Barefield.

Seniors aren't the only ones who will benefit from the program.

“I think it's a win-win for everybody. Those of us who strive very hard to honor resident rights and all of those things then that communication is passed back to the ombudsmen,” says Wesley Place’s marketing director Holly Whitehead.

Volunteers will be able to work shifts that fit their schedule.

SARCOA is looking for people with caring hearts and good communication skills.

“I would say that the personality that you would need to have is that you're a good listener and that you like meeting new people and you're comfortable building relationships with new people,” says Barefield.

If you want to get involved but don't want to visit facilities there is a pen pal option.

Training will be held January 21st and 22nd for those interested in volunteering.

For more information visit

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