Skip to main content

Volunteers

Volunteers are one of the keys to a successful activities program in a retirement community. If you are like me, you need all the help that you can get. I am a one person department and rely heavily on volunteers to run the community programs and help with office tasks.

Where I work, we have a volunteer orientation process. It begins with the volunteers getting an orientation and signing paperwork that includes HIPPA guidelines and the company's guidelines. It also covers emergency procedures and other "important" topics to the corporation. I try to give this volunteer orientation at a group meeting once a year. I invite all the residents who have not attended before to attend. They get the "in-service" and the handbook that requires their signature.

I think one of the hardest thing to do is recruit and retain good volunteers. The best way of course is when a resident offers their service without having to be asked (especially when they are good at what they are doing). But that is not very often. I usually find that putting a notice into a weekly announcement in the community, putting a request onto the in-house tv channel or any other wide scoop request, does not work. I think that the best way to get the right person for the right job is to take the time to ask them personally. It means that you must get to know the residents and know what their inertest and strengths are. It means that you must explain the job responsibilities, time involved and other expectations that you have of them. Yes, it takes time.... but it shows that it is important enough and that you care if the program succeeds or fails... and that you believe in them enough to ask for their help.

Staying in touch with the volunteers during the year is also important. I can not stress how important it is to really know the people that work as your support system! Thank you goes a long way. Say it, write it in a note, tell others about how great the volunteer is and yes, have a volunteer appreciation party. Usually we have our volunteer appreciation lunch in the month of April. A helpful website to look at is Energize Inc. It has ideas, quotes, resources, courses, gifts and much more.

And, as the parent of a high school freshmen, a reminder that high school kids need community service hours. Check out colleges too.

Yes, recruiting and keeping your volunteer program strong and healthy is a lot of work, but be smart and grow your volunteer core the best way possible.

p.s. Check out my blog on Volunteer Appreciation Party ideas and books volunteer appreciation ideas.

Popular posts from this blog

4 Pictures 1 Word Game for the Big Screen

Many of you who have played 4 Pictures 1 Word, know that this brain game is available as an app for your computer, tablet or phone for free. That is great, bu it does not allow a team to play and is not audience friendly if you wanted to present it at your retirement community (or other social gathering). 
After some time and effort, I made a 4 Pictures and 1 Word game  slide show that you can use in your community. I did use the app for suggestions and the Internet for the pictures. I am glad to share this with you so that you will not have to spend the hours that I did in creating this game. If you get the urge to make one also, please come back to this blog page and share it.  I played this last week with a group of about 25 independent living residents.We did not get through all of the slides due to time constraints..... but I was glad I did not run out of slides in my hour that I had their attention. I will be playing this with them again... and would love to have other slides t…

Play Music More Often

"Music is the soundtrack of your life," said Dick Clark. When you hear a song, if you are like me, it takes you back to that time in your life when you heard the song for the first time or to the occasion where you heard it. That is powerful. Can you imagine the music that our residents have heard in their lifetime? Just like the world in general, they have experienced so much and it is nice when we, as activities professionals, can take them back to the happier days, with the soundtracks from their lives.
So, the question I pose to you today is how do you find and present music to your residents? Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is by way of hired professional performers. That is a given in our jobs, so in this post, I'd like to focus on a few other ways that you can bring music to your residents that they will recognize and enjoy, along with theme music for your special events.

Pandora, Amazon, (search MP3 Download then search free songs) and YouTube are pla…

Brain Games

Recently we hosted our senior Olympics program. This year we added a new event called Brain Games. I found a really good link for brain games that you should look at to understand the definition.
After looking at that link and reading through some other online material, I realized that there is a difference between training your brain and brain games. Be mindful (pun intended) that you are not qualified to train resident's brains unless you have gone to training for it. We, as activities professionals however, are very capable of playing brain games with those who are interested in our communities.
Recently, I introduced Scattergories, Apples to Apples,Wii Jeopardy,Wii Wheel of Fortune and a Name that Tune type of game.  They are fun games that required your brain, so I thought that they were Brain Games. This last game, Name that Tune, I created on my own since I could not find anything that would have been appropriate for this generation to identify with. I downloaded music from t…