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Mercy Care seeks to train volunteers to help elders at home

LAKE PLACID — Mercy Care for the Adirondacks is recruiting new volunteers and has scheduled a Friendship Volunteer Training Program in Saranac Lake on the mornings of May 18 and May 19. Both mornings are required to complete the training.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been more than a year since Mercy Care for the Adirondacks has been able to invite people to join its 100-plus volunteers helping elder neighbors age in place more successfully in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and surrounding areas. Mercy Care is seeking to extend its program in AuSable Forks, Keene Valley, Keene, Wilmington and Jay.

“The pandemic has only amplified the need some elders in our community have for the joy and companionship of a kind and compassionate Friendship Volunteer to help ease their isolation and loneliness,” Mercy Care board President Jerry Hayes said in a press release.

About half of Mercy Care’s Volunteers are enjoying in-person visits with their elder friend, following Mercy Care protocols, adhering to CDC guidelines, and using personal protective equipment (masks and hand sanitizer). Other Mercy Care volunteers are being creative in visiting their elder by telephone or helping them get their groceries, leaving a plant on their porch to know they are thought of, helping their elder friend read their mail, or sharing photographs via electronic devices.

Mercy Care is experiencing many new requests from elders in our community who need friends and assistance to help them age in place more successfully, especially during this tragic pandemic. Mercy Care receives requests for a Friendship Volunteer from elders themselves, their families or friends, to help them with informal supports and ease their isolation and loneliness.

The training program is free of charge, but preregistration is required. To request registration information, contact Sarah Kane, elder care and volunteer training manager, at skane@adkmercy.org or 518-523-5585. Volunteers of all faiths are encouraged and invited to participate. Training will take place with masks and social distancing.

The mission of Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, is to extend mercy to elders living in the community in order to enhance the fullness of their lives and help them age in place more successfully.