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C3 Reflections in Honor of National Volunteer Month

This blog was written by Sara Paige, OT, PMP, Community Care Corps Project Manager at The Oasis Institute.


“Oh! So, you’re an Occupational Therapist (OT). Do you help people find jobs?” As a home health OT, I was asked that question a lot. I would smile and respond, “No. Actually, I help people to stay independent in their homes.” Playing a part in someone’s medical recovery was truly rewarding. But many of my patients’ needs were unmet, such as—home repairs that would greatly increase safety but were not affordable; transportation to medical appointments, the pharmacy or grocery store was not available. A lack of companionship and social connection was also a huge challenge I observed as many of my patients lived alone. These needs impacted my patients’ physical, social and cognitive wellbeing—as well as their caregivers’—thereby impacting recovery. There had to be a way to address this.

 

I left home health to work at Oasis, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles and volunteer engagement encouraging personal growth, interaction and service within the community. Oasis has a long history of volunteerism through its intergenerational tutoring program, administrative volunteers and evidence-based health program volunteers.

 

Volunteerism has been proven to offer a wide array of benefits to those willing to dedicate their time and talents to the community in which they live. Benefits include a sense of purpose, improved health and wellbeing, an expanded social network, personal growth and an overall sense of happiness and fulfillment. Over its 41+ years, Oasis has engaged over 35,000 volunteers nationwide!

 

Since 2019, Oasis and its partner organizations, USAging, Caregiver Action Network and Altarum have served as administrators of the Administration for Community Living’s Community Care Corps (C3). Its mission is to provide volunteer nonmedical assistance to older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers to maintain independence in the community. I jumped at the opportunity to manage the grant for Oasis because it aligned perfectly with both my personal goal (to help individuals maintain independence in the community), and the mission of Oasis. C3 was the path forward to address the unmet needs I witnessed while working in home health.

 

Since its inception, C3’s 109 funded organizations have utilized 9,800 volunteers to assist nearly 31,000 older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers to maintain independence in the community providing a wide range of services such as companionship, help around the house, errand running, home maintenance and repair, mentorship, resource referrals, respite, transportation and volunteer chaperone assistance, and technology assistance and training. C3 volunteers report feeling satisfaction in the services they are providing and that their work is valuable and purposeful. They believe their assistance helps maintain or improve care recipients’ and family caregivers’ physical and mental wellbeing while keeping them independent in the community. Care recipients and family caregivers support those claims reporting that engaging with C3 volunteers has made it easier to maintain their current living situation, lowered their stress levels, and maintained or improved their mental and physical health.

 

National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 21st -27th. Have you found a rewarding opportunity to give back to your community?

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