Community Spotlight: Loudoun’s volunteer caregivers
Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers (LVC) is a community of volunteers who help over 300 fragile, aging and disabled neighbors maintain their independence and quality of life. Talk about dedication: some volunteers have worked with the same care recipients for 20 years.
This non-profit organization, founded in 1995, works closely with local faith communities and agencies such as the Department of Family Services, the Department of Mental Disabilities / Mental Health and the Regional Agency on Aging to meet the needs of residents of Loudoun County who do not qualify. for sufficient assistance from county, state or federal agencies.
Transportation to and from medical appointments is the primary need of care recipients, according to Susan Mandel Giblin, executive director of LVC. “Our volunteers lead people to and from doctor’s visits as well as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and dialysis. Volunteers also bring people home after surgery. This is an important service as taxi companies generally do not transport dialysis or surgical patients due to liability issues.
In addition, volunteer drivers ensure that the recipient of care enters the home safely, which taxi services often do not do.
Food is the second most important need among the organization’s clients. “Volunteers take people shopping, including groceries, and errands like visiting a spouse in an assisted living or nursing home,” said Mandel Giblin.
People with modest incomes who cannot make it to a pantry can have free food delivered. LVC is teaming up with Loudoun Hunger Relief and Dulles South Food Pantry to make approximately 200 monthly food deliveries to homebound seniors and disabled adults who need extra food.
Gift cards that are given to LVC by religious groups or individuals allow care recipients to choose what they want from local grocery stores. Mandel Giblin said it allows people on special diets to choose foods that are not always available at food banks.
Volunteers also provide support services such as regular phone calls to care recipients who are isolated and alone. Some volunteers like to take beneficiaries shopping and then lunch. Others stay with housebound people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, ALS and Parkinson’s disease so that those who care for them can do their own shopping or take the time. to recharge your batteries.
The teens provided company in person or over the phone to LVC clients through an intergenerational program that Mandel Giblin implemented in 2010. Many of their in-person activities, such as doing puzzles or crocheting with clients, are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. . But teens continue to lift the spirits of people who often feel isolated at home.
“These kids make phone calls and chat for 15 minutes or up to an hour about what they’re doing and their interests. It’s great for the elderly and children, ”she said, noting that many teens don’t have grandparents nearby.
A family with young children even “adopted” an older care recipient. “Her refrigerator and walls are covered with pencil drawings. They have become his family because his family is in Greece, ”said Mandel Giblin.
Another support service, the Chore Corps program, employs energetic volunteers who provide manual labor, repairs and other chores around the home. For example, 15 volunteers from the Dulles South Food Pantry and the Young Men’s Service League of South Riding / Dulles South cleaned up a care recipient’s property on a Fall 2020 day. They made the yard beautiful and safe by organizing tools and building materials, and carry 40 bags of garbage.
LVC’s money management program helps low-income adults, who are often vulnerable to financial abuse or neglect. Trained volunteers help pay bills, balance check books, and connect care recipients with food and transport assistance. Many volunteers administer the social security benefits of beneficiaries as representative beneficiaries.
More volunteers of all ages are needed in all of these program areas, said Mandel Giblin. Most volunteers and care recipients have received Covid-19 vaccines, although vaccinations are not mandatory.
AARP Virginia has supported Loudoun’s volunteer caregivers for many years. “AARP Virginia is delighted to support and collaborate with LVC. The important and impressive work that LVC is doing locally is significant: they help enable many people to age in place and maintain their independence, which fits well with the goal of AARP, ”said Amber Nightingale Sultane, AARP Virginia Associate State Director for Community Outreach. in northern Virginia.
Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers is based in Leesburg. You can inquire about volunteer opportunities or get additional information by phone at (703) 779-8617, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at https://www.lvcaregivers.org.