Blair Senior Services, Inc. held its monthly in-service for Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion volunteers on June 19, 2019. The in-service was hosted at the Hollidaysburg American Legion Post 516 Social Hall, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. During the in-service, volunteers received updates on specific programs, new volunteers were introduced and they gained beneficial information from several speakers throughout the in-service.
Volunteers received information and were able to learn more about the REAL ID Act from Matthew Becker from the PA Department of Transportation. Volunteers also had the opportunity to hear Donna Gibbs, RN, BSN, Rehabilitation Liaison from Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Altoona, speak about how they can aid in getting their companions the help they need.
“Part of what I do is complete evaluations for patients who could benefit from an in-patient stay at Encompass Health,” Gibbs said. “One of the biggest things I wanted to get across is: if they see a decline in their companion, family member or friend, those are all things that are important and are considered a functional decline which needs to be evaluated.”
Gibbs’ also focuses on educating patients, caregivers and companions before they see a functional decline.
“Sometimes when older adults go to the doctors, they’re in and out so quickly they don’t understand the physician’s orders or their diagnosis. I’m happy to bring the education they need so they understand. Our goal is to educate patients so they can become advocates for themselves.”
Volunteers were able to mingle and take part in several drawings for prizes while enjoying lunch. The final speakers of the afternoon were Cris Fredrickson, Operations and Training Officer and Kate Rimbeck, Administration Assistant from the Blair County Emergency Management Agency and Blair County Department of Emergency Services, to speak about how to stay prepared during emergencies with Smart 911 technology.