Program helping Eastern Iowa seniors stay in their homes looking for volunteers
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A volunteer service that has been helping seniors in Eastern Iowa remain in their homes for decades is down to just a handful of volunteers right now.
The Home Repair and Accessibility Program with Aging Services through UnityPoint Health is for low-income seniors who need help with keeping up their homes—things like yard work, shoveling snow, and even changing a lightbulb.
Last year they served 165 people and completed over 2,000 projects, but the director of Aging Services said they get a lot more requests for projects than they have volunteers.
“As seniors age, they have disabilities and issues, but they’re not able to complete a lot of those projects on their own,” said Joni Thompson, Director of Aging Services.
Any seniors in the area who are lower-income can apply for the program.
“It’s a very much-needed and a much-utilized service,” said Thompson.
While there is a lot of demand for volunteer work, there’s not a whole lot of supply.
“We only have about three volunteers for our Home and Community Repair Program, but we could do so much more if we had more volunteers,” she said.
Thompson said the Home Repair Program has been around since Aging Services started, but they’ve lost volunteers for a couple of reasons.
“We did lose quite a few of our volunteers when COVID hit. And a lot of our volunteers, again, are older. So for their health and safety, they kind of dropped from the program,” she said.
The program is looking for more people to step up. Thompson said you don’t have to have any special training.
“If you can change a light bulb, if you can paint somebody’s trim, if you can rake leaves, those are all project requests that we get a lot of, so it would be great to have more people involved that way,” said Thompson.
All you have to do to volunteer is want to make a difference in someone’s life.
“If you’re just raking their leaves, that’s something that they don’t have to worry about,” said Thompson. “That’s a great way to make somebody feel like they matter.”
You can call 319-398-3644 for information on how to help.
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