Volunteers made a huge difference to residents in many ways this year

Pictured above, Springdale Country Manor volunteer Lynda Rose (seated) and life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

OMNI homes saw volunteers enhance residents’ quality of life in many ways in 2019

It takes an entire team of people to ensure a long-term care home’s residents are enjoying the best possible quality of life, and people who volunteer their time are among the greatest assets a home can have.

Riverview Manor volunteer Mark Coady spends time with residents during a July 17 visit to the Peterborough long-term care home.

Throughout 2019 The OMNIway shared many stories about some of the many outstanding volunteers who donate their time to OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes.

In April, we spoke with Lynda Rose who said she began volunteering at Springdale Country Manor because she had made a promise to herself years earlier that she would do so once she had more time in her life.

Lynda began volunteering at the Peterborough County long-term care home in the fall of 2018. She said she was attracted to Springdale’s small size, but it has been the residents and staff members that kept her volunteering.

“I always said, if I had time, this is what I would do, spend time with (long-term care residents) who maybe don’t have a lot of visitors, and this place is great; everyone is so friendly and the staff and the residents have accepted me,” she said.

Lynda said her favourite part of volunteering at Springdale is getting to know residents and learning about their lives. Knowing these personal connections she creates with residents are making a difference makes volunteering even more meaningful.

“Often, they’ll give me a hug when it’s time for me to leave, and that’s always really nice,” she said.

Pianist Hisen Wu plays the piano he donated recently to Maplewood.

Mark Coady first became acquainted with Riverview Manor about 10 years ago when his mother-in-law was living at the Peterborough long-term care home. Mark would often find himself helping residents when his wife was assisting her mother, and it seemed natural for him to progress to becoming a volunteer.

Mark’s mother-in-law passed away in December 2012. He had seen the high level of care his mother-in-law was provided, and at that point, Mark made a promise to himself: he would volunteer at Riverview Manor “to give back all the time she was here.”

On Jan. 24, 2013, Mark officially became a Riverview Manor volunteer, and he has not looked back.

Mark fulfills many needs as a volunteer. He helps with feeding, portering and will lead or assist with activities such as bingo. Mark also assists the visiting priest during services. He has also been trained to perform communion when the priest is not available.

Mark also has a Jack Russell terrier and a cat he brings to Riverview Manor for pet therapy sessions with residents.

While Mark says he enjoys the volunteer work he does at Riverview Manor, it’s the positive impact he’s able to make in the residents’ lives that makes him most happy about donating his time to the home.

“It’s the love you feel from the residents who are so happy that you’ve taken the time to be with them,” he said.

Sometimes volunteers donate more than their time to a long-term care home. Kuocheng (Hisen) Wu, a classically-trained pianist and volunteer at Maplewood, gave his studio piano to the Brighton long-term care home to after the piano the home had kept for 23 years had to be retired.

“Hisen approached us first in June to see if we’d be open to him donating a piano to us,” Maplewood administrator Rachel Corkery said in October. “Of course, we said yes.”

Playing the piano is a passion for Hisen, who previously donated a piano to another long-term care home in the area.

“You can hear it when he plays – the passion he has for music — it just comes out so beautifully,” Rachel said.