Legion volunteer fulfilling unique role in LTC homes

Patricia Byatt, pictured in the bottom right-hand corner, is seen here with other volunteers from the Royal Canadian Legion during Riverview Manor’s June 14 volunteer appreciation barbecue.

Patricia Byatt visits residents who are veterans at homes throughout SE Ont., including Riverview Manor

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – For the past 10 years, Patricia Byatt has fulfilled a unique but important volunteering role at long-term care homes throughout southeastern Ontario.

Through the Royal Canadian Legion and Veterans Affairs Canada, Patricia volunteers with the Outreach and Visitation Initiative (OVI). She comes to long-term care homes to visit with residents who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

One of the homes Patricia volunteers at is Riverview Manor in Peterborough.

As a volunteer, she spends one-to-one time with resident veterans as well as advocates for them.

“I find out if there are any issues they need to deal with. I find out about their eyeglasses and their hearing aids, their overall appearance and anything that I can help them out with,” Patricia explains.

Some residents living in long-term care homes were involved in active combat and will speak more openly about their experiences with a representative from the legion, Patricia says.

“I’m there as a listener. … I enjoy listening to their comments,” she says. “Some of their rooms are really well decorated.”

Patricia also works with long-term care homes and legion branches to have poppies placed on the name plates outside the rooms of long-term-care home residents who served in the Armed Forces.

Patricia was one of 25 volunteers honoured at Riverview Manor’s June 14 volunteer appreciation barbecue.

According to the Royal Canadian Legion’s website, OVI volunteers make about 8,000 visits to veterans living in Canadian long-term care homes each year.

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