One of my favorite New Year’s resolutions is my commitment to volunteer more, give more, and do more to spread kindness through everyday actions. This year, as I think back on the posts I’ve done about Independent Living options for seniors https://www.activeadultsdelaware.com/blog/posts/2023/11/01/take-a-luxury-cruise-or-move-into-the-lodge-at-truitt-homestead/, I’d like to spotlight one of the best ways to support older folks who want to age in place in the homes they love.
I’m starting with this brief profile of Village Volunteers https://www.villagevolunteer.org/. This organization has very busy down here in our beach communities, where many people have bought or built homes that feel tailor-made to what makes them happy. The main goal of Village Volunteers is to ensure that clients – people who pay a $750 per year for a household membership or $500 for an individual membership – are able to stay in their homes for many more years.
Simple Tasks Make a Big Difference
Folks who volunteer with the organization do several things to make this possible, including:
- Shopping for groceries and other items people need
- Doing light yard or home maintenance, helping people get online, and finding professionals who can do more skilled tasks
- Taking people to appointments with doctors, dentists, hairdressers and others
- Providing social companionship in the home and on outings
It’s easy to see why this all works so well for people who aren’t ready to downsize into a small apartment in an Independent Living community, but who no longer have the physical strength or patience to drive on our increasingly busy roads. They can ensure their cupboards stay well-stocked, their homes are maintained, and their health care is on track because they have a Village Volunteer dedicated to making their lives easier.
A Volunteer’s Perspective
But there are so many other benefits as well. A friend of ours who’s volunteered for the organization since 2020 loves his “clients” – all of who have become good friends. As he sees it:
“I started out at the Village in 2020 when Covid was ranging. I thought about what a hassle it was to shop for our groceries and other stuff we needed and realized it must have been a total nightmare for folks who had to deal with mobility challenges. I met with the very cool woman who ran the place at the time – Jackie Sullivan – and signed up right away.
“Don’t get me wrong – shopping is work. Because when you’re 92 years old you want what you want. But it’s hard to overstate just how much fun the whole experience has become. These ‘seniors’ are some of the most interesting people I know – so full of great life stories and provocative questions that spark fascinating conversations now that they’ve lost their filters. I still shop and take people to appointments but mostly stay involved because we all love hanging out together.
“In the past few months I’ve been a guest at a Rosh Hashana dinner (which was amazing), an escort for the Village Volunteers Gala, a date for several restaurant outings and an empathetic listener in the offices of doctors and others who are doing so much to provide top quality health care to seniors facing illnesses and everyday aches. Spending time with these folks is the best part of my week.”
Serving Lots of Communities Near the Beach
Village Volunteers and its partner organization, South Coastal Village Volunteers, serve folks in the 19958, 19968 and 19971 zip codes of Lewes, Milton and Rehoboth, and the 19930, 19967, and 19970 zip codes of Bethany, Millville, Ocean View and South Bethany.
Visit the Web site at https://www.villagevolunteer.org/ to learn more about volunteering or to see a fuller list of services in case you know someone who might like to become a client.
I’m on the look-out for similar organizations serving folks around central and northern Delaware and will report back as I learn more.