Summer Volunteers Needed to Help Homebound Adults and Seniors Fight Isolation Beyond the Pandemic
By Michelle Talsma Everson -
Thursday Jul 01, 2021
As temperatures in the Valley continue to rise, isolated homebound adults, many of whom are seniors, face increased difficulty in everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or getting to and from medical appointments. For forty years, nonprofit Duet: Partners In Health & Aging has been matching compassionate volunteers with homebound adults for free-of-charge services that include help with grocery shopping, transportation to medical appointments, providing friendly visits, and more. This summer, Duet is in need of new volunteers to help local homebound adults (affectionately called â€˜neighborsâ€™).
â€œThe summer has always been a tough time for us to retain the volunteers that we have but also recruit new volunteers to help fill in the gap of the volunteers who are out of town,â€ says Wendy Cohen, MPH, senior director of volunteer services. â€œOur highest need is volunteers who can take homebound adults to their medical appointments and trips to the grocery store. Itâ€™s about more than just transportation though; itâ€™s about connecting with isolated adults and seniors who often share with us that the time they spend with their Duet volunteer is the highlight of their week.â€
Volunteers set their own hours and Duet matches them with homebound adults close to them, so itâ€™s flexible and convenient. Just a few hours a month during the day, evening, or weekend can make a world of difference in the life of a homebound adult. With the COVID-19 vaccine now readily available, Duet volunteers can also help local seniorsâ€”one of the populations hardest hit by the pandemicâ€”with transportation to and from their vaccine appointments.
â€œI am so very thankful for over five years of the help and assistance given to me by Duet,â€ says Verne, a 97-year-old Duet neighbor. â€œDuet thankfully arranged my COVID shots and drove me there. I give my very sincere and grateful thanks for their help, which I could not have managed without.â€
â€œThe neighbors we serve are so appreciative and easy to be with,â€ shares Bernice, a Duet volunteer. â€œI would encourage anyone who has the time to try helping Duet make life easier for seniors and make your own life much more enjoyable.â€
Right now, there are 56 homebound adults waiting to be matched with compassionate volunteers. Duet is looking for caring volunteers in six Valley cities: Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, and Scottsdale (south of Bell Road). The zip codes most in need of volunteers include: 85016, 85029, 85051, 85257, and 85301.
The first step to becoming a Duet volunteer is to attend an orientation. Orientations are held at the Duet office (located at 10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite D200, in Phoenix) in the large Mariposa Room with a HEPA air filtration system. Non-vaccinated attendees are asked to wear face coverings but face coverings are not required of fully vaccinated attendees. Attendance is capped to allow for safe social distancing. Sanitation protocols include disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces before and after each gathering.
The next volunteer orientations coming up are on July 28 and August 18 at 2 p.m. at the Duet office. To register for orientation, call (602) 274-5022, email [email protected], or visit duetaz.org/volunteer.