Volunteers needed for Living at Home programs – Park Rapids Enterprise

Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area is in need of volunteers.

Executive Director Connie Carmichael said volunteers are desperately needed for all of LAH’s services but especially for respite care and friendly visiting. Both programs currently have a waiting list.

Carmichael explained that respite care is when a volunteer sits with a caregiving recipient for two to four hours so that the caregiver can take a break, go to a doctor’s appointment or buy groceries without having to worry about their care receiver – most often, a senior adult with memory loss.

“Our respite program does not require any personal care,” she said. “It’s more just visiting with the person, maybe playing a game of cards or chess if they can, anything that they might want to do. Watching a movie with them.”

Meanwhile, she said, the friendly visiting program is for anybody, not just caregivers. For example, a friendly visitor could be requested by a senior who lives alone and wants more social interaction.

Carmichael said the need for volunteers went down early in the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were looking for things to do,” she said, “because there was no transportation to medical appointments or anything going on.”

Once services started opening up again, she said, there was a steep increase in requests.

“In typical years, our volunteers work about 1,700 hours and drive about 20,000 miles a year,” said Carmichael. During the last 12 months, she said, it was over 30,000 miles and 2,100 hours.

Bottom line: The more volunteers the better.

For more information, visit www.parkrapidslivingathome.org or call LAH at 218-732-3137.

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