Volunteers know what it’s like to be appreciated

Saanich Volunteer Services provides a number of programs for seniors, including Better at Home

Gail Snider is the executive director of Saanich Volunteer Services.

Gail Snider is the executive director of Saanich Volunteer Services.

One of the conversations I frequently have with my peers is around their fear of being bored when they retire. Yes, contrary to popular belief, as the baby boomers age into potential retirement, many of them just aren’t ready to spend their days on the golf course or quilting.

The need to feel appreciated along with the satisfaction of making a meaningful contribution is ever present in many of the people I speak with when they are considering scaling back or retiring from their current positions.

At Saanich Volunteers (SVSS) we understand that what most people want in work and life, even more than the pay raise, is to be appreciated, make meaningful connections and feel like a part of a larger cause. We also know that our community impact is enhanced through collaborating with others who hold the same common purpose as we do at Saanich Volunteers. By partnering with Broadmead Care to jointly deliver the Better at Home Program, we have increased our opportunities for the nearly retired to make meaningful contributions to others, feel appreciated and avoid the “what will I do” fears associated with being a boomer.

The lion’s share of our volunteer drivers, visitors, handy-people, receptionists and gardeners are in the 55-75 age category, helping people that are either their peers or those who are older and need support. Without exception, they tell us that they get more out of volunteering than they ever imagined.

Perhaps part of the reason for this feeling of being appreciated and valued comes from testimonies and affirmations from our clients.

An SVSS client says, “Saanich Volunteer Services has been a Godsend to me.”  She says that she has lived in her home for 40 years.  Now in her 80s, she wishes to continue living there as long as she can.  Drives to appointments and minor home repairs provided by safe and friendly volunteers help make it possible for her to stay.  The recent addition of the subsidized housekeeping services of Better at Home are making that possibility greater.

“One of the positive aspects of the Better at Home program in Saanich is the ability we now have to offer housekeeping, a subsidized fee for service program,  along with the excellent volunteer services already provided by SVSS for the past 24 years” says Kelly Sprackett, co-ordinator of the Saanich Better at Home Program at Broadmead Care.

“We realize, however, that SVSS will need more volunteers to meet the increasing demand for services that Better at Home is generating.  Offering housekeeping on a sliding scale according to income along with free volunteer services will help seniors live independently at home longer.”

We are grateful for all of the volunteers who share their experiences and time with our neighbours in Saanich. We understand the demands being placed on all generations today and know many folks who would volunteer given the time to do so.

Keeping that in mind, anyone who wishes to feel appreciated, valued, part of a larger cause and have a great time while doing it is welcome to join our 150-strong volunteer group to ward off those boredom blues and help to keep our Saanich neighbours independent as long as possible.

 

Gail Snider is the executive director of Saanich Volunteer Services.