Forever Young: Volunteer at Any Age

volunteer at any age

From needing to fulfill a community service requirement to the desire to help others to wanting to keep active, people arrive at the decision to volunteer for a number of reasons. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes; and there are even four-legged volunteers! Then add to the mix that people can volunteer at any age: teenagers, college students, working professionals and retirees.

Volunteer at Any Age

At the Lakeland Hospice House every Tuesday and Friday afternoon, like clockwork, patients and visitors can expect to see the friendly face of Comfort Care Volunteer Betty Sutton. Years ago, Betty lost the love of her life, her husband, Bob, to Alzheimer’s disease and knew the value of home assistance.

The Ohio State University tenured professor turned to Good Shepherd Hospice for additional support and home care when her daughter Ruth was diagnosed with advanced Multiple Sclerosis.

volunteer at any ageAfter three years of volunteering, Good Shepherd Hospice and the staff at the hospice house have truly become Betty’s family. Naturally, when Betty recently turned 95 years young, her birthday celebration took place in the family café. When asked to share her secret to living so long, The Estates at Carpenters resident replied, “I’ve done everything I’ve wanted so I just keep breathing.”

Why She Enjoys Volunteering

There are many life adventures and stories that Betty draws from to help foster a bond with the patients and families she meets on her hospice house rounds. She’s had loss in her life and knows firsthand what it is like to watch a loved one slowly disappear. She knows the frustration of not being able to do anything but be present for loved ones in their time of need.

“There was a husband and wife I visited at the hospice house. The next day was their 72nd wedding anniversary, and the husband was having a difficult time knowing that his wife may not live till the next morning,” shared Betty whose English Literature doctorate thesis was titled The Long Shadow of John Dryden. “I sat and talked with this man as he showed me their wedding pictures. I asked him if he knew how lucky he was to have such a wonderful woman at his side for so many years. He did. And wouldn’t you know it, but they were able to celebrate their wedding anniversary together before she died a couple of days later.”

Betty enjoys volunteering because she knows she has helped people through a rough time or two. “I plan to continue volunteering as long as I have my marbles and am mobile,” confessed Betty. “I wake up happy on the mornings I volunteer and the following day because I was at Good Shepherd Hospice making a difference.”

Betty is a true testament to the statement that a person can volunteer at any age.

At Chapters Health System, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients, young and old alike, and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call our helpful Chapters Health team at 1.866.204.8611 or send an email to

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Corporate Communications for Chapters Health System, manages all content and communications for the not-for-profit organization.

volunteer at any age Lakeland

What Makes a Great Volunteer?

Do You Have These 5 Characteristics?

Many of the same traits that make great employees also factor into making great volunteers. After all, when you look at volunteers, you should see them as an extension of your employee base with the same core values and the desire to achieve organizational goals. In the case of Chapters Health System, our employees and volunteers work together to ensure that support and care are provided to those in the community affected with or by advanced illness.

The following are the top five characteristics that make a volunteer great.

The following are the top five characteristics that make a volunteer great.

  1. Right Mindset: At our hospices, each and every volunteer helps by offering an extra smile and another pair of hands, much like they would naturally assist a friend or neighbor. The right mindset is simply the willingness to help.
  2. Professionalism Infused with Passion: No matter how our volunteers spend their time, they are always professional in any setting. Volunteers help make sure our patients’ remaining days, as well as the lives of their families, are filled with the warmth and special attention they deserve.
  3. Ability to Collaborate: Volunteers work closely with our employees to form a cohesive team to assist and guide patients and families on the end-of-life journey. Teamwork is essential. The efforts of the entire team working together make the difference.
  4. Reliability: Although our hospice volunteers can provide office support, such as making phone calls to patients, copying, filing and helping with mailings, many visit patients and families in their homes. These individuals come to expect the companionship and support provided along with other assistance, such as reading, running errands and playing games. Patients and families count on volunteers at this difficult time in their lives, so they must be reliable.
  5. Constant Champion: Hospice volunteers know firsthand what a difference they make in the quality of others’ lives. They spread the word by inviting friends to join them as volunteers or to follow Chapters Health on FaceBook, Twitter and other social media channels. They represent the organization at events and participate in speaking opportunities. Volunteers champion the cause everywhere they go—a living, breathing ambassador to how rewarding it is to volunteer for hospice.

If you have these characteristics, please consider becoming a volunteer for Chapters Health or any of our affiliatesGood Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice  and LifePath Hospice. It’s as easy as filling out an application, just click here. We’d love to have you, and as you learned from Betty, you can volunteer at any age!


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