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ROUND TOWN GOOD NEIGHBORS AND CARING CALLERS STEP UP TO HELP OTHERS Keeping Older Adults in Our Community ACTIVE, INVOLVED, AND ENGAGED ers, Good Neighbor, and Senior Peer Counseling programs have an immediate need for extra help. “We serve the entire county, but North County is currently underserved because we simply do not have enough volunteers,” said Jennifer Kaplan, administrative services coordinator. “In a perfect world, older adults who no longer drive or who need help with errands temporarily after a surgery would receive help from family living nearby. Nowadays, families don’t always live near one another, older adults live alone, and they often don’t have the connections or resources to get around as needed.” Income, as one may expect, is one of the main factors in clients needing th ese services. If someone has the income, explained Kaplan, they would likely hire a caregiver. This is not always the case. Fortunately, the services provided by By Meagan Friberg Imagine living alone and needing help, yet having no family close by and having little or no social connection with the world outside your front door. This scenario is a reality for hundreds of older adults living in Paso Robles and throughout San Luis Obispo County. Thanks to the caring volunteers of Wilshire Health & Community Services, there are a variety of programs in place to help local seniors remain active, involved, and engaged. Last month, we shared information about Senior Peer Counseling. Now, let’s learn more about the Caring Callers and Good Neighbor programs. With a current total of 96 volunteers providing for approximately 500 clients annually in SLO County for all of the senior services offered through Wilshire, there is a need for more people in our community to step up and become volunteers. The Caring Callvolunteers are offered free of charge. “We can’t provide services without our volunteers. Our volunteers are the true lifeline for these clients,” , said Kelly Donahue, Wilshire public relations specialist.” Caring Callers Caring Callers are matched oneon-one with lonely or isolated seniors and make weekly in-home visits. They bring a friendly smile and much-needed socialization to their clients whether through watching movies and playing boards together, going for walks, sharing a meal, or just sitting and talking. The benefits to the clients are multi-faceted, with many clients and volunteers developing lasting friendships. One client, who has been with the same Caring Caller volunteer for more than seven years, said, “She has a great attitude. I feel so fortunate for her weekly visits.” 22 PASO Magazine, March 2018
Good Neighbor Good Neighbor volunteers perform a variety of task-based services for seniors ranging from running errands and taking clients to appointments or church to preparing or delivering a meal, walking their dog, or performing light housework or yardwork. The comments from Good Neighbor clients reflect the generosity of the volunteers: “Thank you for being there for me”, “I couldn’t get along without your help”, and, “I don’t feel so alone.” More about Wilshire Health and Community Services As a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, providing compassionate care is the hallmark of Wilshire Home Health, Wilshire Hospice, and Wilshire Community Services. Wilshire supports individuals and families throughout SLO County who are facing challenging circumstances and difficult life transitions. LEND A HELPING HAND Find out how you may help: 547-7025 ext. 20 or visit caringcallersslo.org March 2018, PASO Magazine 23