Many older adults have difficulty navigating the complex system of doctors, hospitals, and appointments. Understanding the instructions of the doctor, getting to and from appointments safely, picking up prescriptions, and lending a hand when mobility is an issue, are all things that a FriendshipWorks Medical Escort Volunteer can help with. On Sunday, May 19, FriendshipWorks will host at “Walk to End Elder Isolation” at Jamaica Pond to help support services like these.
Nancy, a Jamaica Plain resident, is one such recipient. A vibrant older adult, she appreciates a helping hand from a volunteer for her doctor’s appointments. One thing that Nancy’s escorts help with is mobility, helping walk over cobblestones, making sure the elevator stays open long enough at the hospital, and telling the Uber or Ride to wait while Nancy walks out. Not only the practicalities are addressed, they get to talk about a variety of interesting subjects. It really is like having a friend with you when you go to the doctor’s office. As Michaela, one of Nancy’s escorts says, “It is honestly a pleasure. We had lunch before the appointment and just got to know each other. We discussed what I was doing in school and what she has done in her life. It was a great experience.”
Medical escorts are one of several programs that FriendshipWorks offers. In addition, they have Friendly visiting for older adults who would like someone to visit once per week; PetPals, a program where pets visit older adults; MusicWorks, where volunteer musicians play for groups of older adults; Friendly Helping, for older adults who may need help with specific one-time tasks around the house; Healing through the Arts, a program with crafts or poetry creating togetherness for older adults; La Cadena de Amistad, with bilingual volunteers who offer FriendshipWorks services to Spanish-speaking elders; and the Low Vision Initiative, focusing on preventing isolation for elders with low vision. FriendshipWorks does not charge for any of its services.
On Sunday, May 19th at 10 AM, FriendshipWorks will have a Walk to End Elder Isolation at the Rogerson House on Jamaica Pond. To walk, volunteer, or sign up for any of the programs, please visit www.fw4elders.org or call 617-482-1510.
FriendshipWorks is a nonprofit organization in Boston, Massachusetts that was founded in 1984 with a three year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. FriendshipWorks mission, “to reduce social isolation, enhance quality of life and preserve the dignity of older adults in the Greater Boston area” is accomplished through a variety of programs:
Friendly Visitor: FriendshipWorks’ main program matching a volunteer with an elder to meet about once per week.
Medical Escort: Accompany an elder to/from a medical appointment. Volunteer may provide emotional and/or physical support.
Friendly Helper: Assist an elder on a short-term basis for a specific task.
Low Vision Initiative: Program that supports low vision and legally blind elders. In addition to providing FriendshipWorks services, the annual Low Vision Forum seeks to educate healthcare professionals on how to best help elders with low vision.
La Cadena de Amistad: Bilingual volunteers offer FriendshipWorks services to Spanish-speaking elders.
MusicWorks: Program with volunteer musicians offers elders a chance to connect through music.
Relaxing Through the Arts: Connects residents in nursing homes with each other through art projects, haiku poetry, and conversation.
For more information, please visit www.fw4elders.org or call 617-482-1510.