It’s that time a year again when thoughts turn to ways to honor our Veterans. Many of our older Veterans reside in state Veteran’s homes. These homes care for our Veterans and provide various levels of care. Many residents are just hindered by mobility and the ability to care for themselves while their minds remain as sharp as a tack. One area where there just isn’t enough funding is the activity fund which provides stimulating activities for the residents. Every Veteran’s Home has its own needs so check to see what they need. Visit the website (just google your state and Veteran’s Home) and look for information on volunteering and donations. After speaking with Terry Nisbet at the VA Home in Orting, Washington I got a sense of what you can do to help.
- Visit – Call and arrange a time to visit with a few friends. This does not require formal training and residents love to have someone stop by and chat. If you feel called to volunteer more there are training programs depending on what you will be doing.
- Memory Care and Music – This program provides and MP3 player with a curated playlist of the music from the Veteran’s favorite era. The needs for this program are iTunes gift cards which go to purchase songs that aren’t in their library and MP3 players.
- Headphones with 6 feet cords, no ear buds. Residents that have TVs in their rooms need to plug in, so they don’t disturb their roommates.
- Donations for the activity fund. This helps pay for activities for the Veterans like an outing for lunch at a local restaurant.
- Hand Made Cards – These are very popular particularly the ones made by children. Consider having your children make some and then take time to make a visit.
- Pocket Talkers – These fit in a pocket and the resident wears headphones and it helps them hear better.
Each home has its own requirements. The VA home in Orting is requesting a Juiceman Juicer because they have a group interested in health and is currently learning about and drinking healthy juice. They are also looking to replace their large white canopy awnings for outdoor events. So, check in with your local VA home to see what their needs are. Consider asking for donations to purchase an item they might need. Most places get a buzz of activity around the holidays but remember Veterans live in the homes year-round and would love visitors any time. My father currently resides in a VA Home and he said there is lots of activity during the week with physical therapy, appointments etc., but the weekends are slow and boring. Weekends are a good time to visit.
Let’s not forget our Veterans especially those residing in VA homes. Many are from the Vietnam era where they faced many challenges without the support our military has today.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com