A new nursing home comes with new opportunities for Eastern students to volunteer.
Arbor Rose Memory Care Homes is a series of nursing homes that got a new Charleston location Aug. 1 at 1911 18th St.
The nursing home offers 24 hours of specialized care to people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Beth Gillespie, the interim director for civic engagement and volunteerism, said her office is looking for two or three students per session to assist people who live at Arbor Rose.
Volunteers can sign up to help at Arbor Rose on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who are interested can visit www.eiu.edu/volunteer to sign up.
Every first and third Wednesday of each month, the students who volunteer will go to Arbor Rose and spend an hour and a half there.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 is the first day students will volunteer at the home.
Students who volunteer are expected to meet one-on-one with their Arbor Rose resident. They will do an activity appropriate for the person they are working with, depending on what the person’s needs are and the stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease they are in.
Activities include playing card and board games and putting puzzles together.
This way, students can interact with the residents.
Students can also ask the residents questions about their own lives.
Later, the volunteers will have lunch with them.
Gillespie said she thinks people do not get out enough and work with those who are disabled, and the volunteer opportunity at Arbor Rose is a good start for people to do so.
“I am excited. We don’t work very much with this population, and I think that there’s a really big need to support our older adults in our community,” Gillespie said. “I think that this is the beginning of good work that we can do together with places like Arbor Rose.”
Gillespie said volunteering at Arbor Rose can be a learning experience for students.
The students can help older citizens who are disabled while making them feel important and brightening their day.
“I do think it’ll help; there’s so much to learn,” Gillespie said. “I think we as humans have a lot to learn from each other, especially when you talk about people at different generations.”
Gillespie said she thinks the students and the people they work with can learn from each other.
“(The volunteers) make somebody else’s day a little bit brighter by spending time with them, paying attention to the answers that they want to share about their lives and what they are doing,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie said this is the first time students will work through Eastern with people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s an easy way to give back, it’s not a whole lot of time, (and) they are going to get a meal prepared by a professional chef just for them,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie said she thinks students will enjoy this.
Janet Pernell can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]