At the end of the shift, Margaret folded her apron and took a look around the kitchen to be sure their work was done. One of the patrons, a very elderly gentleman, shrank just a bit when their eyes met. He’d become quiet and solemn as he watched her clean up routine. Margaret volunteers at the Adult Day Services Program at the Oakland Centre in Portage Michigan. Once a week she is there midday to help serve lunch to the guests. With between 30 and 40 meals to serve, the work can be quite fast paced. But for Margaret and her partner volunteers its’ the human connection that comes from serving the meal with a smile and warm heart the keeps them coming back.
All of the elderly guests are medically frail; most have disorders which limit their memory or cognitive functions. Each week the volunteers “get to know” the guests all over again as they often are not able to hold onto the memory of their acquaintance from the week before. The willingness of the staff and the volunteers to live in the moment with each guest is the special magic that allows them to feel less stress and more peace. While at the Adult Day Services Program they are not bombarded by a world prodding them to recall memories that are lost to them.
Margaret made a point to approach him with a smile to say good-bye. He simply looked into her eyes and said “thank you for being so nice to me.” This simple exchange reminds us all that it less important what we do for others as it is how me make each other feel. Margaret made this gentleman feel loved and cared for. The gentleman made Margaret feel needed and grateful for the chance to make a difference.
Margaret taught elementary education in the Kalamazoo Public Schools for 38 years. She always knew that volunteering would be part of her retirement. Adult Day Services is just one of the ways she serves her community. Working with older adults has been just the right something for Margaret. “Everyone needs to find something to do. I believe our purpose is to help one another, take care of one another”, Margaret Franklin.
Volunteering at Adult Day Services
Volunteers directly support Adult Day Services mission of providing guests and caregivers with their best day possible through a day of respite including professional care and loving companionship. Volunteers in Adult Day Services support older adults facing a decline in physical health, independence, and/or cognitive function due to dementia or other chronic illness.
Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, between 7:30 AM and 5:30 PM.