Volunteers To Help The Elderly Needed

We may not be able to tell based on Monday's weather, but we are about to undergo some drastic changes.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about helping the elderly in our community remove a heavy load.

Dan Parish has a little extra time on his hands, so he decided to use it wisely.

Parish volunteers to help the elderly through the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging.

“I just saw a story, I think it was on your station about that they were looking for people to volunteer to mow lawns and stuff and so I thought I've got some extra time and I enjoy mowing lawns so it's something I could do to help people out a little bit” he sid.

Parish has been a volunteer for about four years now.

He says the time commitment is worth it.

“It doesn't take a lot of time,” he said. “If there were more people in my area, I would have more time to do a few more but right now I'm just doing two houses.”

And with winter weather starting to churn, the need for volunteers is growing, especially for snow removal for the elderly.

Karen Kelly of the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging says the need for volunteers continues to grow.

“For snow removal and homemaking services, our programs are full and our volunteers that we have available are matched with that so we are looking for volunteers for those things in particular,” she said.

“For people that don't have resources, for people that can't afford it, that don't have family that are too elderly to do it themselves or they may have family and you know the family is already doing a lot so we want to try to support that.”

Kelly said an untapped resource of volunteers lies with recently retired people or those with some extra time.

But volunteers aren't simply given an address and told to go to work. they undergo a pretty extensive background check by ENOA to make sure volunteers don't take advantage of vulnerable adults.

The application asks potential volunteers if they have been convicted of a felony, or had contact with Adult Protective Services.

A criminal background is also part of the process.

“We try to accommodate the volunteers as much as possible and that helps us retain volunteers as much as anything is that flexibility,” Kelly said.

That keeps volunteers like Dan Parish coming back.

And there's more.

“It's the kind of thing that you feel good after you've done it,” he said.

ENOA will only assist those who are elderly and have no other means for snow removal.

A representative of the Boy Scouts mid-America Council said if elderly people need help with snow removal, a good place to check for assistance is with their local boy scout troop.

Many churches in the metro area allow boy scout meetings.

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