Active Seniors Special Section: Volunteers needed at Stafholt center

Published on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 by Kitty Bond

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Blaine’s Good Samaritan Society - Stafholt is looking for volunteers to spend time with residents.

Volunteers are key for Stafholt. They do everything from aiding residents during a walk to playing a game of cards. “It’s amazing the difference you can make in a resident’s whole week by spending 45 minutes of time with them,” activities director Lisa Newton said.

Spring is a wonderful time at Stafholt – the garden is ready for planting and residents are excited to go outdoors. Walks to Peace Arch State Park are a favorite. But getting outside can be difficult for residents, as many require support with their walkers or wheelchairs. That’s where a caring volunteer comes in.

All ages are welcome to volunteer, and dropping in for an hour or two at a time is just fine. Volunteers can participate in any number of activities, including walks in the park and afternoons of playing piano.

“For a while, I used to bring in a litter of kittens for the residents to play with every week,” Newton said. “They were wildly popular!”

The work responsibilities of the Stafholt core staff don’t leave as much fun time as they’d like to spend with residents.
“We have so many projects to do that it is difficult to find the time to sit down and play a game or take a walk with the residents,” Newton said.

The Good Samaritan Society - Stafholt began in 1944 as the Icelandic Old Folks Home – or “Stafholt,” which is Icelandic for safe place or shelter. In 1986 it was taken over by the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, the largest nonprofit provider of senior care in the United States.

The main center houses 57 residents for long-term nursing care, rehabilitation and hospice. An additional annex holds 15 apartments with assisted living accommodations.

For more information, call volunteer coordinator Marsha Hawkins at 360/332-8733, visit www.good-sam.com or drop by Stafholt at 456 C Street. A free background check is required for volunteers.