Caring Hands: Reaching Out to East County Seniors

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Brentwood senior Elaine Light with her regular volunteer, Stephanie Ohle of Oakley, enjoying themselves at our annual Caring Hands Spring Tea -- photo by William Clough

Caring Hands volunteers offer friendship which makes an extraordinary difference in the quality of life for many of our seniors.

“When she came, it was as if a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. She is my angel.”  –  A grateful care receiver

The health benefits of volunteering are known: lower mortality, depression, blood pressure, and heart disease, and increased brain function. Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that her research found those who volunteer their time feel like they have more time, similar to other research showing that people who donate to charity feel wealthier.

If making time to volunteer is on your to-do list, consider joining Caring Hands as a volunteer caregiver or just as an occasional driver.  Caring Hands Volunteer Caregivers Program, a collaborative community outreach program between John Muir Health, social service agencies, congregations of various faiths and the community-at-large, creates finely-tuned one-on-one matches. The Caring Hands Program is dedicated to helping aging adults in Contra Costa County remain independent as long as safely possible. Isolation and loneliness shorten lives and may make health problems worse.

Enriching matches are created; loving friendships and deep relationships are formed. Care receivers treasure a friendly visit, a walk in the park or other social outing. Reading mail, letter writing, or providing respite care to give a break to a family member are thoughtful services which can make a big difference to a frail or isolated senior.

Since so many older adults need transportation to doctor’s appointments or stores, the best volunteer for Caring Hands is someone who is available once a week for just 1-3 hours on a weekday, and who can provide transportation. Volunteers receive ongoing education, support and recognition of their efforts.

Perhaps you can be that friend who gives a waiting senior hope and help. The next training session will be held Friday, July 20 at the John Muir Health Outpatient Center in Brentwood.

For a volunteer application or for more information about Caring Hands please contact Stacy Appel, volunteer coordinator at (925) 952-2999 or email [email protected]

You may also visit: www.johnmuirhealth.com/caringhands

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