Foundation Receives Grant for Senior Care Center

BRUNSWICK, Georgia: Oct. 22, 2008 – The Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation, the fundraising organization for Southeast Georgia Health System, has been selected to receive a grant from the Georgia Health Foundation (GHF) for the establishment of a unique volunteer services program at the Health System’s new Senior Care Center in Brunswick. The Foundation will receive approximately $33,500 from GHF on Dec. 4.

The Senior Care Center opened in September 2008 and will help meet a rapidly growing need in southeast Georgia for skilled nursing and long-term nursing care. “Assessments of this region show that our senior population will quadruple in the next 25 years, and we must start working now to provide for their housing and healthcare needs,” says the Health System’s President and CEO, Gary R. Colberg, FACHE. “As we do that, we must also look at innovative ways to keep seniors active and engaged. The volunteer program planned at our Senior Care Center will be a model for other senior communities in the future.”

“The program will pair teen volunteers from the Health System’s Volunteen program with the Center’s seniors in fun and interesting activities, many of which are not typically associated with senior living,” Colberg says. Among the items that will be paid through the grant is a portion of the salaries for a volunteer teen supervisor, an art instructor, and dance and music instructors. It will also cover costs for a gardening area, and pay for equipment that will allow teens and seniors to share in activities ranging from computer-based communication in a computer lab to modern video gaming like the highly popular Wii®.

“We recognize that participating in these kinds of activities helps our senior population maintain higher levels of cognitive and social functioning, and helps to enhance their quality of life,” says Jim Bishop, chairman of the Southeast Georgia Health System Foundation. “Active involvement in activities such as dancing and gardening allows them to preserve their physical health, while computer interaction and video gaming stimulates and develops the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning. The assimilation of our Volunteens into this program provides a wonderful learning opportunity for them and allows our seniors to benefit from their youthful enthusiasm.”

While the first teens participating in the program will come from the Health System’s existing group of Volunteens, additional volunteers will be actively recruited. Those who wish to participate must be between the ages of 14 and 18, have a B average or higher, and show a sincere interest in helping others. After receiving appropriate training, they will be able to volunteer during summers, after school, and on weekends. In addition to gaining valuable life experiences, they can count their volunteer time toward community service hours.