Small Acts of Kindness | vancouver sun

Volunteers provide invaluable support for residents in BC’s long-term care facilities

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Jesse Davis has been a Recreation Manager at an independent living senior retirement home on the North Shore for the past two years. She started the post only months before the COVID-19 pandemic has isolated many residents from family and friends.

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“It provides a unique perspective on how much the support of their families means to them in more ordinary circumstances,” she says. “As employees of the facility, we became members of the family who once made their lives easier with our visits. We moved their furniture, we became tech support for their equipment, we put pictures on the walls and helped them connect to the internet. ,

As BC seniors ease home visitation restrictions, families are able to afford some of the support that older adults depend on. But there is still plenty of room for volunteers to use their special talents to assist and engage residents, or to lead them in activities.

Kevin Cho is a Class 12 student at Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver who discovered the true value of the violin music he is practicing At the age of three, he picked up the instrument on a trip to Korea.

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“We went to visit my grandfather, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” he recalls. “He used to be my number one violin fan. But although he no longer recognized me, his eyes lit up when I played the recording of my violin performance. I could see he was still there.”

The experience inspired him to join Keys for Seniors in 2017. The Volunteer Club connects local seniors with live concerts and music lessons offered by young musicians. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group performed in outdoor settings wherever possible, but eventually had to cut back on the performance schedule.

To continue sharing his music, Cho developed Remote Keys for Seniors, an online platform that offers YouTube performances, including special requests from individuals.

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Although the virtual concerts have proved popular, he looks forward to performing live once again, the moment the group is approved.

“I’ve always enjoyed my audience’s reactions,” he says. “Some of them hum and sing along and others start dancing. It’s great to perform in front of people who enjoy music so much that they want to repeat it. ,

These acts of service can come even in small moments. For example, a restaurant employee at Davis’ facility shared his expertise in Japanese calligraphy in a series of very popular seniors’ workshops.

For those who want to help, “find some senior citizens’ homes in your area and ask them what they need,” advises Davis. “Maybe you speak a particular language or may share a unique skill. This will help match you with superiors who may benefit most from what you’re offering.”

The story was created by Content Works, the commercial content division of Postmedia.

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