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Volunteer Ombudsmen Become a Lifeline for Caregivers with Loved Ones in New York City Nursing Homes

Contact: Alyse Booth/Steve Lefkowitz
For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 6, 2006


For stressed out baby boomers with loved ones living in NewYork City nursing homes, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Volunteer Ombudsmen are tension relievers, comforters and time savers all rolled into one. Volunteer Ombudsmen give their time every week to visit nursing home residents across the five boroughs and – to the relief of family members — work with the residents, their families, other loved ones and facility staff to resolve any matters of concern and insure that the residents receive high standards of care.

Busy baby boomers — members of the so-called “sandwich generation” – are often juggling responsibilities of meeting the needs of their loved ones in nursing homes, spouses, children, grandchildren and careers. “Volunteer Ombudsmen bring peace of mind to family and friends who cannot be at their loved one’s side 24/7,” says Laura Petta, program director of New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Volunteer Ombudsman Program. “They listen to issues expressed by family and friends about their loved ones in nursing homes and work with the staff to positively resolve them.”

A Brooklyn woman whose mother lives in a nursing home in Staten Island worried that her mother wasn’t eating enough of regular meals and wanted her to get a snack at night. But snacks were available only to residents who requested them and her mother wouldn’t ask for one. “I found out about the Ombudsman from a resident. I told him about the situation. Now a staff member brings a snack to all residents in the evening. The Ombudsman is a very caring, compassionate person and listens to me. It makes me feel better knowing there is someone there who will help,” she says.

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens seeks volunteers to serve as Ombudsmen in nursing homes throughout the five boroughs. Knowing they make a difference in helping residents and their families makes such work challenging and rewarding. “An Ombudsman’s quick intervention can ease family members concerns about their loved ones in nursing homes. That is why Ombudsmen are such invaluable resources for family members, friends, nursing home residents and facility staff,” says Linda Hoffman, president of New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.

To qualify as an Ombudsman, you must be age 21 or older, willing to complete 36 hours of free training and spend four hours per week at a nursing home close to home. If you have a concern about a loved one’s care or want information about becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman, please phone 212-962-2720 or email lpetta@nyfscltcop.org.

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Ombudsman Program is federally mandated and funded through grants from the New York State Office for the Aging and a contract with the New York City Department for the Aging.

Established in 1968, the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, sponsor of the Volunteer Ombudsman Program, is the only non-profit, non-sectarian organization serving older New Yorkers in all five boroughs. New York Foundation for Senior Citizens is dedicated to helping New York’s senior citizens enjoy healthier, safer, more productive and dignified lives. For more information about New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, please visit www.nyfsc.org.