Home Care Stories
Volunteers Lend and Ear ... And More
Exeter, N.H. - Solace. It means to provide comfort and relief. For 91-year-old Roseamonde Fieldsend of Exeter, it means having someone with whom to talk.
Fieldsend is housebound, and as she puts it, being 91, has few friends left who can come and visit. However, thanks to the volunteers from the Solace Volunteer Program, which is coordinated by the Rockingham Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, Roseamonde has found some new friends to visit with twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The Solace Volunteer Program is for people living with a chronic illness, disability or coping with the changes of aging. It was developed in the spring of 1999. Volunteers visit with people in their own homes, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, assist with organizing bills and home management, teach people how to access community resources available to them and provide relief to caregivers.
"Volunteers talk, read, play games, go for walks and write letters with the people they visit," said Heather Dunn, volunteer coordinator. Dunn's job is to find the right fit between a client and volunteer and introduce them. Daphne Witt is the volunteer that works with Roseamonde. "They're a good match. Both have a great sense of humor," said Dunn. "Roseamonde shares a lot with Daphne. Daphne is a good support to her - a good social outlet."
"It helps a great deal to have someone you can talk to," said Fieldsend. "You get lonely." She said Witt not only sits and talks with her, but also takes her to doctor appointments. She also helps her sort through items she has accumulated through the years. Currently she is helping her label her photographs. "She's nice. I like her very much," said Fieldsend of Witt. "Daphne breaks up the monotony."
In addition to providing assistance to Fieldsend through the solace program, the Rockingham VNA and Hospice also provides services to Fieldsend's husband, Russell, who is 93 and suffers from dementia. For five years a visiting nurse has provided help with his daily routine and monitored his health.
Fieldsend is appreciative of the services provided by the Rockingham VNA and Hospice and the solace program, having tended to the ill herself. She visited people in nursing homes and took care of her mother, who was blind, for four years at home. She was also a stand-up comic in the Kitchen Cutups, a group of women that entertained at various nursing homes, organizations and elsewhere for 17 years.
"It takes very little to make someone happy," said Fieldsend. "I'm a happy person."
The Rockingham VNA and Hospice makes approximately 52,425 home visits per year, travelling more than 536,900 miles. They serve approximately 6,575 individuals per year in all of the organization's programs. The Solace Program currently serves approximately 15 people, however, that number is expected to increase as more people find out about it. "It continues to grow," said Dunn.
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