Aging Well: Queens Medical Center volunteers get as much as they give
HONOLULU - More than 120 seniors a month lend their time and talents to one of the state's largest hospitals. They are part of a 300-person volunteer team, and some of them say they get just as much as they give.
They come with musical instruments, or their furry friends. These are just some of the volunteers at The Queens Medical Center, whose task is to bring joy to patients.
Volunteer Gloria Shishido says, "Really, it's making a difference for the patient, and that's why we're here at The Queens Medical Center. The patient is first."
Shishido works at the information booth, and she helps discharge patients.
Other volunteers help roll a mobile bookshelf from room to room, so patients can find a book. Some just bring a listening ear.
Volunteer programs manager April Light explains what it means to the patient. "They don't have anyone to visit them often. We have a volunteer go up and talk to them. It helps a lot with recovery," she says.
These volunteers say making a difference in someone's life.changes theirs, too. It's partly why Shishido, now in her 70s, says she's aging well.
Shishido reels off her list of aging tips, "I believe you have to eat well, exercise to relieve stress, and social interaction - meeting people, working with them."
Light adds, "Everybody has a purpose. You need to have a purpose to keep you going."
89-year-old June Anderson has been at the information desk for 50 years now. Her son, Dave Holzwarth, says she loves it so much, it helped her recover from a major stroke two years ago. "The volunteer work she did with Queen's hospital would give her lots of energy and purpose, and that's what gets us out of bed. This is definitely something that gets her out of bed."
Her son speaks for her because the stroke took away her speech. Anderson still works at the same post, but now, validating parking tickets. Holzwarth says his mother still communicates in other ways. "The way she interacts with people with physical expression and smile - it's still powerful. It still makes a difference in her life and others'."
It's that kind of personal reward that keeps the volunteers coming back.
The Queens Medical Center would like to recruit more volunteers, especially seniors for:
Way Finding/Lobby Information Desk
Surgery Waiting Room
Crafters on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Volunteer Office
To sign up: https://www.queens.org/careers/volunteer-careers.