- Written by Jessica Riel
- Published: 05 October 2015
Advocate for elders and people with disabilities in our community
In just a few hours each week, you can make a big different in the lives of residents of local nursing and rest homes.
“An Ombudsman is someone that they can feel at ease with, laugh with, and talk to,” says Long-Term Care Ombudsman Annmarie Newton, who volunteers at Quabbin Valley Healthcare in Athol. “My goal is to make people feel comfortable, good about themselves, and happier or more content. I hope and pray by the time I leave that they feel better.”
Annmarie begins her visit in the music room, where people are “hearing music, watching a movie, playing cards,” and speaks to everyone, asking how things are going.
“I love seniors. I think they’re funny, smart, and unique. I just enjoy them and I look forward to coming down and visiting them,” says Annmarie.
Annmarie also speaks with each person who is awake in their rooms and will visit with them if they want. If there is a particular problem, she will discuss the issue with the resident in private; if it’s a big problem, she will speak with the unit manager, and she takes emergencies to Trevor Boeding, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Director.
Annmarie feels that if she brings a problem to Trevor, it will be addressed right away. “He gives me a verbal pat on the back. He really is very helpful to me and very supportive. I’m very happy with Trevor and I think we have a good relationship.”
Like all Ombudsmen, Annmarie listens to residents and assist them by advocating and problem-solving with them in collaboration with the nursing facility staff. Quality of life for the residents is the common goal.
You can become an Ombudsman volunteer this fall!
Attend the free Autumn Volunteer Training for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program on November 16, 17, and 20, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a break for lunch, in Springfield, Mass.