Oct 14

Volunteer Spotlight for Residents’ Rights Month

photo of volunteer ombudsman in honor or Residents' Rights Month

October is Residents Rights Month. Springwell’s volunteer ombudsmen make a difference in the lives of residents of long term care facilities. Ombudsmen are highly trained and supervised volunteers who visit a residential facility at least weekly and are available to hear concerns in confidence, advocate to protect residents’ rights, and provide information and referrals. As part of Residents’ Rights Month, we asked two of Springwell’s devoted ombudsmen, Susan and Marian, who have volunteered for almost 11 years to share some thoughts about the role. Today we are sharing Susan’s story. Stay tuned for Marian’s story later in the month.

Susan, what drew you to the role of ombudsman, what keeps you in it?

When I was considering retiring from my professional career as a development psychologist, I started researching volunteer possibilities. I wanted something that took my focus and energy and utilized some of the skills that I had developed over the years. I wanted something that took attention and felt worthwhile. I had worked with children during my career and wanted to be involved with the other end of the life spectrum. Being an Ombudsman has been all that. A bonus has been contact with the others in our Ombudsman cohort.

What advice would you give to new OMB volunteers?

My only advice is to avoid expectations. I’ve learned that I don’t have to do something monumental to feel like I’ve done something consequential. Also, patience matters. It takes time to make one’s facility feel familiar and to feel a part of it. Without meaning to sound trite, I can honestly say that this work has enriched my life significantly.

If you would like to learn more about the Ombudsman Program, please visit our website here.

If you would like to learn more about volunteering as an Ombudsman, please visit our webiste here.