9 Uncommon Nursing Home Volunteer Positions I’d Like to See Filled

Most of the excellent nursing home volunteers I’ve encountered over the years have been involved with the recreation department, hosting or bringing residents to activities. Here are some other positions of great value to the residents, some of which I’ve witnessed and others I’d like to see. Please add your additions to the Comments section.

Nursing home residents really need someone to:
  1. Mend torn items and replace missing buttons
  2. Take them outside for some fresh air and sunshine
  3. Run errands (or maintain the Independence Cart)
  4. Organize their belongings and make their rooms homey (it’s hard to reach stuff from a wheelchair)
  5. Replace broken watch bands. worn-out watch batteries, and missing eyeglass screws
  6. Cut and style their hair (many residents have no funds to pay for the fee-based hairdresser)
  7. Facilitate visits between friends on different floors (when mobility is an issue, they might as well be in different countries)
  8. Help them write letters to friends and family
  9. Provide computer education and support (hopefully, all nursing homes will soon have computers for the residents)
For more on volunteering, see my earlier post, Why Every Nursing Home Should Have a Volunteer Coordinator (and what they do), and stay tuned for my upcoming post on Great Reasons to Volunteer in a Nursing Home.

7 thoughts on “9 Uncommon Nursing Home Volunteer Positions I’d Like to See Filled”

  1. Dr. El,
    You have so many great ideas! I particularly like the idea of volunteers running errands for residents, facilitating visits among friends and computer education. Residents always want us to pick this or that up, it can be a challenge to maintain friendships, and computer education can be a time consuming, but invaluable task. These are just some of the reasons why facilities would benefit from a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator as you advocate for.

    I plan to print out your list and give my Recreation Leaders an inservice on how to make the best use of our volunteers. Hopefully, it will challenge my staff to find residents who may benefit from any one of these services.

  2. I'm glad you found the list helpful, Sue. I once worked at a nursing home that had a regular errand-running volunteer and he was the most popular man in the place. It was a huge stress-reliever for the residents to know they could ask John to pick up necessary items. Sometimes residents had family members who generally shopped for them, but they needed John to help them buy the family members thank you gifts.

  3. I love this post. What is the solution? Should more nursing homes advertise that they need volunteers? I think many undergraduate and graduate students would volunteer if they knew there was a need. Often the problem is in getting the word out. This is a good start!

  4. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jennifer. In my recent interview with Cabrini Nursing Home Director of Volunteer Services Ellen Stein, she got a huge response from the ads she posted on the New York City volunteer site, and I believe many states have websites where volunteer opportunities can be posted. I think it would be a great experience for undergrads and grad students, especially if they're considering working in health care, or with older adults.

  5. I am a MA medical assistant but wish to donate my time and exlerience to anyone who would love to have it as long as theyare in the 5 boroughsi dont drive


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