Training Available to Become a Volunteer Ombudsman to Advocate for Seniors

People Inc. is seeking volunteers with a passion for assisting seniors to support the New York State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Volunteers, called ombudsmen, play an important part by advocating and promoting the rights of residents who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Ombudsmen provide compassion and problem-solving skills. Phone screenings are now available to review eligibility to join the program’s upcoming training sessions.

Ombudsmen volunteers explore, resolve and/or refer complaints. Opportunities are available for those who work in professional fields, such as paralegals, human service staff, social workers and business professionals. Many volunteers are also retirees, ranging form those who have worked within education systems, administration to engineering fields. Schedules are flexible with a minimum of two hours per week.

Inspired by his father’s move into a skilled nursing facility, Joe Cal, a retiree and resident of Orchard Park, NY, has been an Ombudsman for the past eight and a half years.

“We are advocates, mediators and partners who appreciate the backgrounds and experiences of residents and want them to know that we have their backs,” said Joe Cal. A part of the volunteerism that Cal enjoys is the schedule and giving back. “For me, I consider it a regular job, but the good news is you can pick your own hours. As an ombudsman, I’m able to make an impact on seniors, especially for the residents who do not have family living in town; you are there to be an intermediary.”

People Inc. provides comprehensive training and ongoing support for ombudsmen. The next training begins in mid-June with late afternoon/evening hours. Another training will be held in September.

To learn more, call 716-817-9222.