Getting Involved in the Community: Plenty of Volunteer Opportunities
Barbara MacTaggart believes strongly in the volunteer spirit, and her wish is more residents at Life Enriching Communities would take advantage of the opportunities to help fellow residents and support the community at large.
“We always need more volunteers. Always,” says the Twin Lakes resident. MacTaggart has raised her hand many times since she moved to the community nearly 12 years ago. “When they would ask for volunteers I just said, ‘I’ll do it.’ ”
MacTaggart’s impressive volunteer resume includes working in the campus shop one day a week; she also co-chairs a book club, oversees the annual Christmas fund that makes monetary gifts to Twin Lakes associates, works on the events and programs committee and is treasurer of the Friends of Twin Lakes Auxiliary, a group that has raised several hundred thousand dollars over the past decade for the Benevolent Care Fund.
MacTaggart finds volunteering is great therapy and thinks being “old” is not an excuse for getting involved. “I have to walk with a cane and I have a bad leg, but my brain is still top-notch,” says the 85-year-old. “I don’t want to just sit around. We have a lot of opportunities to help.”
She says there are three key areas where volunteers are always welcome:
- One of the biggest needs is at the campus shop, with three shifts a day, five days a week that need to be staffed. Proceeds go to the Benevolent Care Fund. “I know some people are a little leery of working a cash register, but we have about the simplest one you can find. We always need new people.”
- Volunteers are always needed to provide a variety of services or just quality companionship for individuals with memory loss or in need of long term nursing services at Twin Towers and Twin Lakes. “People in those situations need the stimulation of any kind,” MacTaggart says. “Individuals with memory loss love music, so we are always looking for people to play piano or lead a sing-a-long. It’s a great boost for the residents.” She also notes some residents bring their dogs for a comforting visit and therapy dogs from the outside community are welcome. These visits are coordinated through Volunteer Services. On Sundays and Wednesdays many residents like to attend the services in the chapel and volunteers are needed to facilitate their journey. And MacTaggart says many people in nursing care are looking for encouragement to get well and mobile again. “They appreciate visitors. There are many people whose minds are sharp, but their bodies aren’t.”
- The welcome center desks, especially for the skilled nursing areas, also need volunteers. “We always need people to answer the telephone and greet visitors. It’s a simple job, but it helps out so much.” Besides helping to pass the time, MacTaggart says volunteering is good for the soul. “I just get pleasure out of helping people. I love to work with numbers, so being the treasurer of the auxiliary gives me great enjoyment. And it’s camaraderie working with other people.'