Help Others Through Volunteering
April 08, 2019
By: David Dick, HRMC President & CEO
When I was a young administrator at a nursing home, I consulted a social worker about one resident who was having difficulty adapting to having a roommate. The social worker gave me some valuable advice. He told me, “Dave, poor socialization is better than no socialization.” He had firsthand experience of the effects isolation can bring. Now, someone has put a number on the cost of loneliness to the Medicare program – $6.7 billion a year.
Six million Americans age 65 and older live alone, are homebound because of medical or emotional conditions, or lack access to transportation leading them to become isolated and lonely. Recent research indicates that loneliness and isolation are risk factors for depression, cardiovascular disease, stroke and an overall increased mortality risk, among others.
Huron is a close-knit, rural community, but we are not immune to the impact of isolation. Because HRMC is committed to promoting and improving community health, we must be part of the solution. We maintain three values for you: being accessible, helpful and knowledgeable.
The value of being helpful is vital to our rural way of life. For the hospital, helping people to heal and maintain their health is so they can return to their everyday lives. Yet, isolation can hit us unexpectedly with the loss of a spouse, especially after retirement.
Staying involved in social commitments and volunteering are both wonderful preventive measures. Each year at HRMC, nearly 50 active volunteers donate
more than 5,600 hours of their time, serving daily to provide refreshments and assistance in hospital lounges, helping visitors with hospital and patient information at the information desks, and delivering floral arrangements to patients.
Not only are these generous community members helping the hospital and their community, but they are also working to combat the loneliness epidemic. Many
volunteers are age 65 or older, and by committing to a weekly or monthly shift, they make connections as they help others – and perhaps reduce their own risk
I am grateful for our HRMC Auxiliary Volunteers and give many thanks to them for understanding the importance of being helpful. If you value being helpful and would like to be part of combating the loneliness epidemic, I invite you to learn more on the Auxiliary page.
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