I hope that my good friend, Community 360° board member and University of Nebraska at Omaha colleague, Dr. Lyn Holley won’t mind that I used her call to action for the title of this article. Our conversations most often end with her smiling and saying, Ever Onward!
I usually chuckle and respond with a hearty Ok! But as I was thinking about my writing today, those were the first words that came to my mind, Ever Onward. For the first eight months of this year, we, at Community 360° have been
celebrating 20 years of serving the frail elders living in nursing homes. But, I believe that now is the time to look ahead, to in-vision and to plan for the next 20 years.
This weekend, another class of Community 360° volunteers will graduate our training program. Included in this class are professional care staff as well. The fact that professional care staff would attend this training speaks to the not only the credibility and the richness of our training, but also to the need for more training of this kind.
Looking ahead at the next 20 years, I see what seems to be insurmountable challenges related to staffing, funding, and access. The numbers are staggering. Yet, I am hopeful. I believe that Community 360° is postured to meet those challenges in a unique way and based on our 20 years experience in recruiting and training skilled volunteers.
Skilled volunteers? Yes, skilled volunteers that have participated in training programs like Community 360° allow them to go beyond the occasional and casual visit to become an integral part of the care team. With training the skilled volunteer can assume non-medical responsibilities thereby freeing the staff for other tasks.
Is the need great? Yes! One out of every two 85 year-old persons will need a nursing home. Beginning in the year 2030, the first of 80 million Baby Boomers will reach their 85th birthday. Now there is something to think about! The need for nursing home beds will increase exponentially with each passing year thereafter until the year 2050 when all 80 million Boomers will have reached that age of 85. Programs like Community 360° are needed now to work towards changing the volunteer paradigm. At Community 360° we’re on it.
With that in mind, we are always looking for extraordinary people willing to do extraordinary things. If you want to become part of a this growing team of extraordinary volunteers, then click here. The experiences and stories you will have and hear are life changing. Just ask any of our volunteers!