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A Volunteer's Story

A Volunteer’s Story: “A friend of the residents”

A Volunteer’s Story: “A friend of the residents”

Meet Annmarie Newton, Ombudsman

Annmarie Newton has been volunteering with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at LifePath for nearly a decade. “And I've been involved with them in different positions for about 19 years,” Annmarie says. “We have a little joke over at LifePath. ‘Once you start with them, you never get away.’ And it's true! Because they make it so easy for you and so pleasant.”

April 2016 AVS Volunteers Story Ombudsman Annmarie Newton photoOmbudsman Annmarie Newton (left) visits weekly with Quabbin Valley Healthcare residents like Helen Douglas (right).It all started after she retired, Annmarie says. “I wanted to do something worthwhile to help people.” She learned about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and signed up to volunteer, visiting the residents of a local nursing home, and it’s worked out well. “I can't tell you how much I enjoy this job. I really do.”

“The Ombudsman is an individual who goes into a long-term care facility and visits with and advocates on behalf of the residents,” says Trevor Boeding, Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Director. “The whole goal of their work is elevate the quality of care that people receive and the quality of life that they participate in at the facility.”

Annmarie works with 44 residents at Quabbin Valley Healthcare in Athol. “I would say that I'm a friend of the residents. I enjoy visiting with them and, once I get to know them, they feel very at ease with me and let me know if they have problems or if they're upset about something,” says Annmarie. Like all Ombudsmen, Annmarie listens to residents and assists them by advocating and problem-solving with them in collaboration with the nursing facility staff. “You know, they have problems just like young people. They're lonely, discouraged sometimes. They're sad. They're crabby. Just like everybody, except that they're in this place. If their bed is uncomfortable or their wheelchair isn't just right, things like that, I just go back and talk to the aides about it and see what we can do to make their life more comfortable.”

Annmarie takes urgent issues to Trevor Boeding, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Director. “Trevor and I have a good relationship. If ever I have a problem, I call him, and he solves it for me.”

Residents also share their good news with her, such as the birth of a grandchild. “It's an easy relationship. It's a nice relationship. And I'm happy that they can count on me, that they feel that they can trust me. I think that they think of me in many ways as a friend – I hope so anyway.”

Annemarie encourages others to volunteer as Ombudsmen or in other capacities at LifePath. “LifePath has made a lot of difference in my life. I've enjoyed it all and I hope that I will be able to continue with them for many years to come.”

If you’d like to talk about becoming a volunteer Ombudsman, give Trevor a call at 413-773-5555x2241 or 978-544-2259x2241 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Find application materials, more information, and other volunteer opportunities at