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Free training: Become a volunteer advocate for elders!

Learn to advocate for residents of local long-term care facilities

Want to make a difference in your community? The next Long-Term Care Ombudsman training is your chance! Volunteers in Greenfield, Shelburne Falls, Athol, and Turners Falls are especially needed.

Attend the next free volunteer training for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program on March 27 and 28, 2019, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and March 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with breaks for lunch, in Springfield, Mass. A snow date is reserved for April 1.

With questions or to apply, call Trevor Boeding, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program director at LifePath, at 413-773-5555 x2241 or 978-544-2259 x2241, or send him an email. Even if you can’t make it to this training, you can still reach out to be added to the list for a future session. Find application materials and more information.

“The skills helpful to be an Ombudsman are good people skills, good listening skills, level-headedness, and comfort in helping to advocate for another's needs to be met,” says Trevor. “It is not necessary to have healthcare knowledge or experience. Training is provided to fill in the gaps.”

Robert Amyot has visited with and advocated for residents living at Quabbin Valley Healthcare as a volunteer Ombudsman for several years. “I’ve always seemed to relate well talking to people who are my age or older,” says Robert.

At first, Robert was nervous. “Especially when you start out, you really need a lot of guidance.”

The structure of the ongoing training put his mind at ease. Robert and Trevor did introductory visits together. “I always keep his phone number handy,” says Robert. “I can call from my car if I need to have an answer right away.” Regular meetings with other Ombudsman volunteers have also helped.

Thanks to the Ombudsman, “People are so much better off and happier,” says Robert. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to advocate for them.”

Interested volunteers must successfully complete the application process, which includes CORI, reference checks, and an interview with the program director, before attending the training. Volunteers are reimbursed for their mileage to and from the facility to which they are assigned.