Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people they just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."
- John Prine (also sung by Joan Baez)
I seem to have spent a few days this week visiting clients in the nursing home, and so I had this song running through my head. Many times, residents of the homes don't have family near by that can visit, or they have no family at all and are feeling scared, sad and isolated. Despite their age, they still crave interaction and are interesting, funny, feisty, cranky and human. Sometimes they just want someone to sit outside with them when the staff may be too busy. Sometimes they are looking for someone to speak with them in their native language, or even to help them write their memories down.
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering to be a visitor to an elder, you can contact Match Up, Interfaith Volunteers in the Greater Boston area.
MATCH-UP volunteers help elderly and disabled adults with almost anything one friend might do for another: talk together, write letters, read aloud, go for walks, help get to appointments, visit by phone, and much more.
MATCH-UP attracts volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and faiths. They come from congegrations, universities and schools, businesses and corporations, and the community at large. As they get older, some of our volunteers even become MATCH-UP seniors themselves, gratefully receiving our services just as they once gave their time and support.
For volunteer opportunities on the South Shore, contact South Shore Elder Services.