James has been fishing since the 1930s and, thanks to our volunteer Bruce, he plans to keep fishing for as long as he can.
James is a Centrica Care Navigators patient who has been with us for some time, long enough to let people know he’s a lifelong fisherman. Bruce, a Centrica Care Navigators volunteer, is partnered with James so he has companionship during the day. They get together about once a month.
Bruce has been a volunteer for the past 12 years, and agreed to partner with James since they both enjoy fishing — and they like talking with one another, too.
“I really do like helping older gentlemen, and this fishing assignment was too good to be true,” Bruce says.
On a recent trip, James and Bruce drove out to Austin Lake in Portage in the morning, and spent a few hours simply fishing. James told Bruce about growing up in Arkansas and fishing in a pond there as a boy. They both said the fishing trip was a fun way to connect.
Being a volunteer
Not every patient is excited about fishing, of course, but volunteering to spend time with someone at Centrica Care Navigators can always be fun. Volunteers partnered with patients discuss an activity to do together, or a task that needs attention. Often, it’s just sitting and talking; other times, it’s helping out with a small chore like washing a few dishes.
Sometimes a volunteer’s visit is good not just for the patient, but the patient’s caregiver, too. It can give them a break and time to run an errand, or simply relax for a little while.
The volunteer process is a simple one. Many of our volunteers are referred by a friend who’s already a volunteer, or they visit our website. Our staff talk with them after reviewing their application to find out the kind of things they might be interested in doing — everything from one-on-one time, like Bruce and James, to supporting our annual special events like Golf ‘Fore’ Hospice and the Butterfly Release.
We’re always looking for people with different skills, so our patients and guests get the care they deserve. Barbers and cosmetologists, for example, are always helpful (everyone needs a haircut now and then!). Volunteers bring their dogs to visit with patients. Volunteers help with our Story Catcher program, recording patients and guests telling the story of their lives and recalling favorite memories.
What it means to Bruce
Many Centrica Care Navigators volunteers discovered us when one of their loved ones started receiving care. They had a good experience, and appreciated the compassion they saw in the volunteers and staff who worked with them.
That was true for Bruce. He first found out about Centrica Care Navigators when his mother-in-law received care before her death in 1988.
Since then, he’s been in contact with Centrica Care Navigators staff about giving his time to support people looking for a helping hand and someone to talk with.
“Knowing your gifts is a key to being a successful volunteer, and then sharing those gifts is something they will always remember,” Bruce says.
Getting involved as a volunteer
Each patient has a doctor, nurse, and other medical care staff who manage their physical health and their illness. Volunteers don’t have to be doctors; instead, they’re asked to be friends — a comforting companion for our patients to talk with.
It’s easy to become a volunteer — whether you fish or not! Visit our website or call us at 269.345.0273