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Retire-To Volunteering

Host Ed Zinkiewicz uncovers engaging—sometimes surprising, but never dull— volunteer opportunities available to retirees. Interviewing volunteers and volunteer coordinators each week, Ed highlights the meaningful contributions volunteers make and also the rewards volunteers receive. Imagining a retirement that matters starts here. Sign up for Ed's free, weekly newsletter at retire-to.com and get listings of coming episodes.
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Now displaying: February, 2017
Feb 22, 2017

For seniors with transportation-access issues, finding ways to make essential trips for things like groceries, medical appointments, and prescription refills can be daunting. If they live in Blount County, however, they have help.

 

Joani Shaver serves as Director of Blount County Office on Aging. Passionate about seniors, Joani has special concern for those who are still ambulatory, but don’t drive. She recognizes the burden transportation issues impose. Smiles: Neighbors Driving Neighbors is a welcome answer.

 

SMiles is not a form of public transportation. Instead, it is a membership program ($25 annual fee) where seniors are able to purchase a needed service for a reasonable price (a designated number of $6 round-trip rides, ordered in advance).

 

The program relies on Blount County’s volunteers to provide its service. People are recruited, screened, and trained before being accepted as SMiles drivers. They use their own vehicles to provide rides and can receive either gas reimbursement or IRS tax-deduction documentation, if preferred. A Transportation Manager supervises day-to-day operations of the program, which is housed at Blount County Community Action Agency’s Office on Aging.

 

Love and appreciation of the elderly is Joani Shaver’s mantra…and the standard for the volunteers. SMiles is also lots of fun. In fact the volunteers who began in 2013 are still volunteering. What a compliment to any program!

 

To find out about volunteer commitment and requirements, visit the SMiles website www.blountcaa.org/volunteer. Or call 865-983-8411 x 26 to set an appointment to talk further about volunteering. You can also download the volunteer application and mail, or fax the completed application to their office: Blount County Community Action Agency, 3509 Tuckaleechee Pike, Maryville, TN 37803. If you live outside Blount County, check with your local council or office on aging for similar programs.

To find out more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s Retire-To newsletter: retire-to.com/ed-s-newsletter. Be sure and visit retiretovolunteering.com.

 

 

Feb 15, 2017

Brian McCaffrey Makes Personal Playlists for Dementia and Alzheimer's Patients

After thirty years of ministry as a Lutheran (ELCA) chaplain, recently retired Brian McCaffrey moved with his wife, Helen, and two cats to St. Paul, Minnesota. Eager to follow his interest in the relationship between aging and spiritual development, he now volunteers at Lyngblomsten Care Facility in St. Paul.

Brian helps in the facility’s Music and Memory Program, which creates and provides personalized playlists using iPods and similar digital audio systems that enable those struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive and physical challenges to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories. Currently, Brian volunteers two to three hours weekly and sees 8–10 residents. He enjoys working with the dementia patients and loves the smile music puts on people’s faces—not onlyresidents, but also family and staff.

Each person receives an iPod loaded with his or her favorite music. Because music is stored in a different section of the brain than language, it often remains after many other memories have been lost. Music can function as a trigger to those memories. An added benefit is that music can have a calming affect when a resident is agitated.

Brian says, "I get the chance to make a difference in people’s life that day. I bring a smile and often memories that they enjoy sharing, which brings a sense of purpose and meaning into my day, as well. Volunteering allows me to keep doing some of my favorite types of work—without the time clock. Less expectations allows for a little more fun…and it gets me out of the house!"

More details can be found on the Music and Memory website (https://musicandmemory.org).

To find out more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s Retire-To newsletter: retire-to.com/ed-s-newsletter. Be sure and visit retiretovolunteering.com.

Feb 15, 2017

Nashville Symphony—Opportunities Galore Including the Instrument Petting Zoo

A newsletter from the Nashville Symphony advertising the Instrument Petting Zoo caught Jaeger’s curiosity and the rest is history! He is a lover of music and soon found this was just the place to volunteer his time and talents. Chuck has been volunteering there since 2009.

The Nashville Symphony offers a wide variety of opportunities to engage volunteers from Nashville and its surrounding communities. If you would like to support the performing arts through volunteer service, they would like to partner with you. Nashville Symphony volunteers can customize their schedules to fit their lifestyles. You are able to determine your level of commitment. For information about volunteering at the Schermerhorn, click "Volunteer Services" on their website (https://www.nashvillesymphony.org/support/volunteer/opportunities) or contact Kathleen McCracken at kmccracken@nashvillesymphony.org.

To find out more about coming podcasts, sign up for Ed’s Retire-To newsletter: retire-to.com/ed-s-newsletter. Be sure and visit retiretovolunteering.com.

 

Feb 15, 2017

Host Ed Zinkiewicz uncovers engaging—sometimes surprising, but never dull— volunteer opportunities available to retirees. Interviewing volunteers and volunteer coordinators each week, Ed highlights the meaningful contributions volunteers make and also the rewards volunteers receive. Imagining a retirement that matters starts here. Sign up for my free, weekly newsletter at retire-to.com and get listings of coming episodes.

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