Take a few minutes during the holidays and visit the elderly

posted Nov 21, 2016, 11:17 AM by Mary Peck

Nursing home volunteers often see first-hand how the holidays affect residents. For many, the holiday season is a joyful time, but for some it can be sad and even depressing.

Barbara Davis has been an ombudsman volunteer with the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority for over 15 years, taking time each week to visit residents.

“It can be a sad time,” said Barbara. “I visited the first part of the week with several ladies who were very lonesome and weren’t going to get to see their families for the holidays. It really helps when someone takes even just ten minutes to stop and visit them.”

Over half of nursing home residents do not have visitors, which can make it very lonely for those residents, especially during the holidays. The ombudsman volunteers provide the residents with an advocate and person to talk to when they need someone.

Even with holiday decorations, activities and entertainment available, some residents may choose not to participate, which can lead to more feelings of loneliness or sadness.

“Outside groups, activities and entertainment do help, but the main thing they need right now is more one-on-one attention,” said Barbara. “I recently learned more about one resident’s Christmas during the dust bowl. It’s fascinating to hear their stories, so full of history.”

The SWODA Ombudsman Program serves nursing homes in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties. For more information about the Ombudsman Program or to become a volunteer in your area, contact Gail Wilcox at (580) 562-4882.