The Sage Connection

There's help for seniors who want (or need) to stay home

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Life is full of ironies. While many of us complain about staying at home, others may be desperately seeking help to do exactly that.

Rebekah Graham is the Program Coordinator for Catholic Community Services' Volunteer Services (VS) for Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties. Volunteer Services (formerly Volunteer Chore Services) began in 1981 in response to cuts in services for elders by the state legislature.

VS is committed to helping elders and adults with disabilities remain independent in their homes through a network of caring community members. According to CCS's website, "the program currently works with thousands of elders and adults with disabilities statewide. The services are provided at no charge and serve as a safety net for those individuals who cannot afford to pay for assistance and do not qualify for other assistance."

If you are considered low income and are 60 or older, or disabled and between the ages of 18 – 59, this is a service you need to know about." 

Their services provided the following:

  • Housework
  • Laundry
  • Shopping/errands
  • Transportation
  • Yard Work
  • Respite
  • Minor Home Repair
  • Cooking
  • Communications
  • Household Repairs
  • Monitoring
  • Wood Provision
  • Some kinds of Personal Care
  • Protective Supervision
  • Moving Assistance

These services are provided by trained volunteers who have undergone an extensive background check by the Washington State Patrol.

Some of these services are available with the help of other programs; for instance, volunteers from this program build ramps, but the materials are supplied by others, like the Rebuilding Together Thurston County Society. Other partners include local food banks and wood banks that provide wood for heat.

Through a network of caring volunteers, the Lifespan Respite Care Program at Catholic Community Services offers assistance to low-income persons caring for a family member with a chronic illness, disability or the frailties of old age. Relatives raising children are included.

Transportation is provided by both program volunteers and the Bus Buddy Program.

Medication pickups, grocery shopping, installation of bathroom grab bars and minor home repairs are also part of their services and partnerships.

How to get started:

It begins with a phone call to the intake staff member who will talk with you to gather information regarding your specific needs and the family member's needs to whom you are providing care.   To find out more about these services, call 1-844-851-9380

Next comes an In-Home Assessment

A Volunteer Coordinator will visit you in the home where Caregiving is provided to share further information about the Program, gather more specific details on assistance to be delivered and discuss scheduling. A volunteer match will follow this.

A trained volunteer will be matched with you to provide direct assistance that meets your needs. The wait for a volunteer may vary depending on availability, geographic location and type of chore request.

Nor are you left on your own after you have been matched with a volunteer.

Your Volunteer Coordinator will phone you to follow up once a match has been made to ensure that your needs are met and that the volunteer assignment is positive. If you have ongoing services, your coordinator will check in to see how the match progresses and ensure that needs are being met.

Are you interested in volunteering? 

Volunteer drivers are an essential part of this program. Many clients need transportation to medical appointments. If the client has not been vaccinated, grocery shopping and other errands can be run for them.

All volunteer drivers are vaccinated and only medical visits are provided for those clients who are unvaccinated.

Volunteers come from all age groups; families and couples volunteer together as well as students and retirees volunteering independently. An adult must accompany youth under 16 years of age.

And, as often is the case, volunteer drivers are urgently needed. Volunteer drivers are reimbursed for their mileage and covered under Catholic Community Services extended insurance. 

Like much of life nowadays, signing up to become a volunteer starts with a form.  There's a link on this page to get started.  Or contact Rebekah Graham at 360-726-3885.

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