March Volunteer Gathering

Notes from our Marchnewphoto Meeting:
What a great turnout for our monthly Volunteer gathering to hear Lynn Schorn from New Motion PT. We learned so much about working with IVC “Care –ees” as Lynn described them! For those of you who were not able to attend, here are some of the highlights to keep in mind when working with our Care Receivers:
>When first meeting Care Receiver (CR) at their home, notice if there is a walker, cane, or other mobility equipment. If so, be sure to encourage the CR use them for your outing. Ask them to show you how it works, how to fold up for stowing, and how to lock and unlock.

>Did you know that IVC has Disabled Parking Permits to lend for you to use as needed with our CRs? Just let us know when needed.

>When parking, pay attention to the environment; slopes on driveways or parking strips, uneven walkways–make sure getting in and out of the car is as easy as possible; park away from a curb so that there is room to step down to pavement; note wet, muddy or uneven surfaces or uneven stair heights, etc.

>Prepare your car: keep seating and floor areas clear; be sure passenger seat is moved back for more space; if car sits low to ground, add a firm pillow to passenger seat to add height and ease of getting in and out.

>When helping CR into car: Have them turn to put their bottom on the seat first keeping both feet on the ground, then swivel to lift feet into the car. To exit car seat, have them swivel in seat to place both feet on the ground before rising to get out. ( a helpful tip from Linda Birum was to place something like a thin, flexible plastic cutting board on seat to allow them to more easily swivel in seat.

>When YOU bend down to assist, be sure to keep your back slightly arched in a neutral position (not rounded) to help protect your back as well (we need you all to stay safe and healthy!)

>Should a CR fall, do not attempt to pick them up. Rather, give them a moment to stabilize. Ask if CR is okay. If they are injured or unable to get up on their own call 911.

>Proper height of cane or crutches allows for a 30% bend of elbows. If you notice that they seem out of adjustment, suggest they ask their provider to double check.

>And please remember, every situation is different. Your good judgement is always a best bet. IVC is always here to help should you have questions.

SAVE THE DATE! Next Volunteer Gathering – Wed. April 20th
Subject: Driving Retirement: When is it time to give up the car keys? Peter Eddie drives us
through a discussion of the challenges and solutions.

2014 Flowers from the Heart Program Finishes with a Burst of Color!


To the Flower Ladies at IVC,
Thank you for my lovely bouquet of flowers which I am enjoying. And thank you for all you do to show caring to others and to spread heartfelt joy and beauty.”
IVC Flower Recipient

The summer of 2014 is surely going to go down as one of the best we’ve had on record here in the Pacific Northwest. We have been graced with warm weather and just enough rainfall to bring a profusion of flowers into our gardens. Gardeners everywhere are delighting in the vibrant colors and sweet fragrances that are bursting forth this year. There’s an abundance of riches and IVC has found a way to share them with those who aren’t as fortunate to be surrounded by them.

Every morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day, colorful bundles of flowers were brought to Eagle Harbor Church by local gardeners. Later in the morning, IVC Flower Ladies appeared on the scene to assemble them into beautiful bouquets which they then delivered to people on the island who aren’t able to get out and about. This has to be the best volunteer gig in town! Every week we received cards and phone calls from the delighted (and surprised) recipients. Here’s a typical note: “Thanks so much for the lovely bouquet you brought last week. My husband has Parkinson’s Disease and is wheelchair-bound so we don’t get out often.”

The Flowers from the Heart program is just one of the many ways that IVC volunteers are making a difference in our community. Through these one-on-one connections, they are adding value to someone’s life and discovering meaning in their own as well.



When you live far away…


The reality of life in the United States is that many of us don’t live in the same community as our families. This long distance can create unsettled feelings as we worry about our loved ones’ well-being. But there are things you can do to help ease your anxiety when distance is a factor.

Some things you can do from afar include:

  • Arrange for an alarm system to ease your security fears.
  • Subscribe to an electronic alert system so that your loved one can use it to summon immediate help.
  • Have a “knox box” installed so that in the event of an emergency, the paramedics can gain entry without knocking down the door.
  • Manage medical appointments by keeping in touch with doctors (your relative may need to sign a privacy release to do this).
  • Check out local service agencies like IVC to find out about what services they can provide to help your loved one age gracefully in their home (transportation, meals, companionship).
  • Schedule regular communication with your family member. Daily phone calls can do a lot to ease everyone’s mind.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to care for our elderly. We are all in this together and need to keep an eye out for the most vulnerable amongst us.

Some Impressive Statistics…


Any Statheads out there? Here are some statistics that I think you may find interesting. In February of this year, IVC switched over to a new database and began tracking requests in a serious way. Here are some interesting findings:

Since February 24th, IVC has had:

422 Bainbridge Island transportation requests filled for a total of 509 volunteer hours
87 Kitsap County transportation requests filled for a total of 229 volunteer hours
27 Seattle transportation requests filled for a total of 103 volunteer hours
119 Companionship requests filled totaling 645 volunteer hours
41 Errand requests filled for a total of 120 hours
21 Grocery requests filled for a total of 50 hours
87 hours of pet care
127 hours of light housekeeping

There are a number of “other” categories, but the bottom line is since February 24th, volunteers have provided 2385 hours of volunteer time for IVC. Isn’t that amazing! You can further quantify this by placing a monetary value on volunteer hours. In 2013, the value in Washington state for an hour of volunteer time was $26.72, placing a monetary value of $63,727 on hours volunteered to date.

Of course, so much of what IVC volunteers do is not easily quantifiable because it is relationship-based. That one-on-one connection between care receiver and volunteer is at the heart of what we do. But when you add up the myriad of ways that IVC volunteers are out in our community helping people maintain their independence and quality of life, it’s really an impressive statistic, don’t you think?

Exercise + Mobility = Less Disability in Elderly

There was a very interesting article in The Boston Globe this week about a new study which found that elderly people who exercised on a daily basis were less likely to become physically disabled compared to those who didn’t exercise regularly. This is promising news for all of us, as it pointed out that the exercises  were simple and could be implemented anywhere.

Here on Bainbridge Island, we have two wonderful gyms, a public pool, classes through the Parks and Rec Department plus a lively Senior Center. On any given day there are a multitude of exercise classes for all levels of fitness. As the article states: “While previous population studies indicated that elderly people who maintained their physical fitness were more likely to remain living independently through the decades, this is the first large clinical trial to provide firm evidence that when older Americans, who are typically sedentary and have numerous health conditions, moderately increase activity levels, they might be able to delay their decline into disability.”  Isn’t that inspiring!!

IVC is proud of its mission of working with the elderly, the disabled and others who need help to maintain their dignity, quality of life and independence. While many of the transportation needs we provide are to medical appointments, we also provide rides to exercise classes on the island because we know the positive impact they have on the overall quality of life. We’re happy to contribute to people exercising and moving more, especially if it means even greater health benefits down the line.

Here’s a link to the complete article. Happy reading!

IVC Music Club: A Lively Beginning

From famous classics to Dixieland, over a dozen IVC care-receivers and Madrona House residents enjoyed the launch on May 1st of the new Music Appreciation Club sponsored by IVC and coordinated by two IVC volunteers-Dick Goff and Joanie Nichols.

In this inaugural gathering, participants listened to and talked about recorded performances of Rossini’s William Tell Overture (including its famous “Lone Ranger” movement), The Three Tenors’ rendition of “O Sole Mio,” the love duet from The Merry Widow Operatta (sung by opera stars Diana Damrau and Rolando Villazon), “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” by the Prerservation Hall Jazz Band, and the beautiful violin solo “Meditation on a Theme from Thais” played by Itzhak Perlman.

The listening was enthusiastic–lots of foot tapping, movement and smiles. So too was the conversation, about what images, feelings and memories the songs inspired, as well as participants’ own musical preferences and experiences.

The club plans to meet usually on the first Thursday of each month-each time in the lovely parlor of Madrona House. A wide variety of music will be featured. Special thanks goes to Janice Donald, Life Enrichment Coordinator for Bainbridge Senior Living, who arranged for Madrona’s hosting of the club and supported our first session in various other ways including her personal participation. Thank you also to the IVC volunteers who transported several of the participants to and from the gathering.

By Dick Goff (IVC Board President)

Powerful Film on Dementia & Music at Seattle International Film Festival

“Alive Inside” will be playing at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) this weekend. This is a remarkable film on the power of music in the lives of three people living with dementia and Alzheimers. Social Worker Dan Cohen made a remarkable discovery when he brought his IPod to a nursing home. He discovered that dementia-afflicted persons seemed to “awaken” when they listened to music from their past. So he and first-time director Michael Rossato-Bennett embarked on a three-year investigation of “how music connects people to the memories and emotions of their youth.”

IVC Board Member Cheryl Denton has seen this film and highly recommends it. Click here for more information about “Alive Inside.” It will be playing this Saturday, May 17 at 11:00 am at the SIFF Cinema Uptown AND Monday March 19 at 7:00 pm at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle.

Connecting to the World

To learn how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.

Henri Frederic Amiel

Recently I came across a very short (3 minute) video about that most sacred of rituals–the once-a-week beauty parlor appointment. While it may seem trivial to some, for women of a certain generation, time spent at the salon is not only important for maintaining their self esteem and image, it’s an essential source of connection too.

As people age, it often becomes more and more difficult to get to some of those appointments or gatherings that have played such a crucial role in their weekly routine.  IVC is often able to help connect some of these dots. Our volunteers step forward in a myriad of ways to enable our care receivers to maintain their dignity, independence and quality of life. 

Taking people to doctors’ appointments is certainly a very significant part of what our volunteers do, and many hours and miles are spent transporting care receivers in our community to these appointments. But IVC volunteers also help bring care receivers to the Senior Center, to concerts, to the library and yes, even to the beauty parlor. Connections are made along the way, and people remain active and engaged with the world around them. Another upshot that often occurs is the relationship that emerges between the care receiver and the volunteer.

Here’s a link to that 3-minute video called Beauty and Wisdom. It’s really quite sweet. I hope you enjoy it!

IVC Has a New Blog!!


Island Volunteer Caregivers is very excited to enter the blogging world. Our goal is to provide our readers with interesting stories, facts, links, and tidbits about care giving, care receiving and everything in between. We will feature different guest bloggers, each writing about what is nearest and dearest to their hearts. So stay tuned! We hope this will be both interesting AND informative.

Here are a couple of things we’ve been busy with lately:

This week, IVC participated in the First Annual Kitsap Great Give. We are so grateful to have had this opportunity and are pleased to report that we received a total of $6315 from 40 donors (and this is before any matching money!). As a whole, Kitsap Great Give raised over $539,000 for 200 local non-profits. What a successful debut!

We also wanted to share an article written by IVC Board president, Dick Goff. It was published in The Review on April 27, and highlighted the important role that IVC plays in our community. Since the first of the year, we have received many new requests from people coming on board as care receivers. While we are thrilled to be helping so many people in the community live as independently as possible, we have also been mindful of not wanting to overwork our precious volunteers.  Since The Review article, we have noticed an uptick in requests to volunteer for IVC; we hope this trend continues!

Finally, I will end with a Leo Buscaglia quote which, I think, sums up what so many of our volunteers bring to our care receivers:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia

 Posted by Robin Gaphni~IVC Program Manager