St. Joseph Living Center

Volunteering for Seniors Brings Life to the Everyday

By: Morgan Maliff, April 28, 2016

While volunteering at St. Josephs Living center, I would interact with the residents by helping them participate in fun and engaging activities.  St. Josephs plans an activity everyday to give residents the option to get out of their rooms and have social engagements with other residents, volunteers, and visitors. Part of my job as a volunteer was to bring residents to the recreation room to participate in the activities. Many of the residents had trouble physically getting to the recreation room to participate, so I would go room to room and ask them if they wanted to join that day. If the resident was feeling up for the activity, I would give them a ride in their wheel chair or guide them with their walker to the recreation room.

Each week the residents would be very happy to see me helping out. They would enjoy making small talk and ask me how school is going. My help would allow the residents to be able to enjoy activities they may not have been able to enjoy with out assistance of others. We did a lot of cooking and craft activities, which need a lot of extra hands because there is a lot to do and many residents would join in for the fun. The resident’s also enjoyed having someone to talk to while they waited for activities and enjoyed being out of their rooms. Many of the residents would talk about how lonely they get in their rooms. They would always be appreciative to have me there and give them a break from solitude. The activities also gave them a feeling of independence, which many residents feel they lost by living at St. Josephs.

The most rewarding part of volunteering was seeing how happy residents would get when they can share their stories. Especially, the residents who do not get many visitors they would be so happy to be out of their room and be able to hear about current events, the weather, and so much more. I saw how moving away from your home and losing much of your independence is not easy, especially after you’ve been independent for so long. It made me understand that residents being able to share knowledge with a young person can help them regain a little bit of the independence they lost.

I learned a lot about myself during the volunteering experience. I learned that sometimes just your time and ear could mean the world to people. You do not always have to donate money or material things for people to truly appreciate you. I learned that the residents all had extremely interesting lives and many moved to Connecticut from various places. I met men that served in our military and had a ton of stories about their experiences serving for our country. It felt great to be valued by the people of St. Josephs both the staff and the residents. I surely will miss volunteering with these incredible men and women.