The Spotlight is on! Meet a few of our outstanding volunteers!
Meet Mary Howie
Mary Howie volunteering with the Ombudsman Program at Senior Services and has for over 10 years. She's one of the early trainees for the volunteer program.
She’s completed training on Resident's Rights, Abuse, Neglect, Financial Exploitation and how to communicate with residents with dementia. Mary began by visiting for 4 hours a week, here we are ten years later, and she is still making visits to the same nursing home, and exceeds 4 hours each week. Over the years Mary has developed relationships with the residents and the staff to the point that they call looking for her if she misses a week without visiting. The residents have grown to rely on Mary to assist them with resolving the day to day problems that might come up. No matter how small or large the problem, Mary does not hesitate to advocate for residents and their wellbeing.
The facility staff have come to rely on Mary to assist them with making sure that every resident is visited, especially those residents that do not have family to visit them. Mary has become their family and she treats every resident with a compassionate and caring attitude. Mary consistently performs the duties of Ombudsman Volunteer with honor and dedication, doing what she can to assist in providing the best quality of life for all residents at the center she visits. Mary strives to make a positive difference to everyone she meets. Mary's hard work and commitment to serving as a Patient Advocate is truly an asset to Senior Services. Thank you for doing a fantastic job Mary!
Meet Lizzie Scott
Lizzie Scott has been a volunteer in the Senior Companion Program for almost 15 years. She visits seniors in their home. She helps by preparing light meals, running errands, and transports her clients to grocery shopping and even the hair salon. The services that Mrs. Scott provides have a lasting effect as they enable her three clients, two of which are sisters 98 and 88 years old who live in the same home, to remain in their own home and live independently.
Mrs. Scott provides so much more than transportation; she recently escorted a client to the funeral home where the client was able to make pre-paid funeral arrangements. She took another client to the treasurer’s office to assist her with applying for the tax relief program.
When she is not busy helping her clients, Mrs. Scott stays busy by planning the companion quarterly birthday recognitions for her group. She still rides her stationary bike five miles a day 3 day a week, before she volunteers. Mrs. Scott was recently nominated for the Corporation for National and Community Service’s National Service Award. We are cheering for her as she certainly deserves it. Thank you Mrs. Lizzie Scott!
Meet Laurie Scott
Laurie Scott is one of our Office Associate volunteers who has spent many hours working in the office alongside us to update files, policies, as well as serving on two committees planning upcoming events for Senior Services employees and volunteers. She has done an excellent job and is a great team member. The scope of projects she independently completed or advanced the completion date of is truly impressive, and so is her initiative and commitment to hard work.
Not only is Laurie a hard worker, she is also highly compassionate. The compassion she shows towards the people we serve and work alongside is an inspiration. She treats everyone with respect and kindness, no matter what the situation is. Whether she is on the phone with a senior or working to gather data for reporting, she is quick to look for the reasons why someone is frustrated or to see their perspective. Many seniors who find themselves in need of the services we provide can become very stressed finding solutions and I observed her on many occasions speaking peace and love into difficult situations.
Laurie, thank you for all that you do. Thank you for your active participation in the mission of providing seniors and their caregivers with access to programs and services so they may live their lives with choice and dignity in their communities
Meet Priscilla Jackson
Priscilla Jackson has been an Ombudsman volunteer for 11 years through Senior Services. Her mother who was a volunteer Ombudsman in New York City inspired Ms. Jackson. Her mother would comment on the need for more volunteers in long-term care settings. That need is still relevant today.
As an Ombudsman, she establishes relationships with residents and ensures the protection of resident’s rights so they are treated with dignity and respect. If there is a violation of resident’s rights, Ms. Jackson jumps in and works with the management staff to resolve the issue.
“When I visit residents and tell them I’m there for them, I sometimes get a puzzled look. Many of the residents have never heard the word ‘Ombudsman’ before,” she said.
Many residents in long-term care facilities do not have family members visiting them on a regular basis and Ms. Jackson is sometimes the only person they see other than facility staff.
“When their faces light up when they see me, or they tell me how glad they are to see me or ask me to come back and just talk, I am fulfilled,” Ms. Jackson said. She prides herself in knowing that when she visits, she is a voice for the ones that cannot speak for themselves.
As an Ombudsman, Ms. Jackson is a vital part of the facility care team. The administrator, Ms. Karen Wilhelm, stated that residents and their families share information with her that help the care plan team improve in meeting the needs of the residents they are care for.
Thank you Ms. Jackson for uniting in service with us to help seniors in our community!
Meet Brian Ellis
Brian Ellis is a volunteer driver through Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels program.
“One of the reasons I volunteer is because while being an active duty service member, I feel like it is important to give back to the community while setting a high standard,” Mr. Ellis said. “The main reason I volunteer is because I really enjoy meeting people around the Hampton Roads area that need help. The stories they share and few minutes we spend together are priceless. [At one of the volunteer routes] I met a lady who was 101 years old. She told me that she drank a beer and walked a block a day and that was her secret to long life. I looked forward to meeting her every time I went out. She was always my last stop so I could stay and chat with her for a while.”
Thank you Brian for uniting in service with us to help seniors in our community!
Meet Sue Lemmon
Sue Lemmon is a Benefits counselor for seniors and provides invaluable support in educating seniors about their choices for Medicare.
“Volunteering makes me feel more connected to my community,” she explained. “I was living in Arizona and had the opportunity to volunteer as a Medicare counselor at the local Area Agency on Aging. I discovered that Medicare options are complicated and there are penalties if the right choices are not made at the right time. I found it very personally satisfying to provide education to other seniors so they could make informed decisions about their medical care that fit their particular situation.
When I moved back to Virginia, I wanted to continue using my Medicare knowledge in my new community and sought out Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, the local Area Agency on Aging in Hampton Roads. I am proud to be a volunteer in this organization.”
In addition to Benefits Counseling at SSSEVA, she is also involved with READ Virginia Beach, tutoring first graders in reading once a week.
Seniors frequently get overwhelmed and confused when presented with the options for their insurance and Medicare can be difficult to navigate. Additionally, there is a short window of time to make these decisions each year – during October to December. This is right during the holiday season when many other events demand attention. There are serious consequences if this window of time is missed. Senior Services Benefits Counselors help seniors with awareness of options, submitting paperwork, and providing support throughout the whole process.
Thank you Sue for uniting in service with us to help seniors in our community!
Meet Barabra Staten
Barbara Staten has volunteered with Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia’s Senior Companion Program for 7 years. She provides companionship to two gentlemen living in Franklin. She indicates she volunteers because she always thinks that it could be her or a family member. “It’s like I’m paying it forward” Barbara stated. Barbara chose the Senior Companion Program after she realized regular employment was too demanding for her. She was experiencing back problems and feeling isolated. “The program benefits me as much as it does them” says Barbara. She likes feeling needed and appreciated. She takes pride in helping those unable to take of themselves. One of Barbara’s clients is bedridden. The client’s son resigned from a shipyard job to care for his father and when Barbara started visiting, the son noticed a change in his father’s demeanor and that he had become more talkative. Barbara indicates she loves the smile he gives when she prepares breakfast for him.
Thank you Barbara for being a great friend and for all you do to care for seniors and their caregivers!