Caring Friends

Anna said she enjoyed her 90th birthday party, but felt lonely when she came to call Crandall Medical Center home. Clara, who had been too busy with a 37-year teaching career to marry, explained she had "outlived all of my family and most of my friends." "I'm not sure I like these 'golden years'," Anna lamented.

After allowing Anna a few days to adjust to her new environment, her CMC Licensed Social Worker introduced Anna to the Caring Friends Program.

Providing HOPE is the work of the Caring Friends program at Crandall Medical Center. A volunteer visitation program, Caring Friends have been providing companionship and cheer for residents of Crandall Medical Center (CMC) for 2 decades.

To Caring Friends, HOPE means "Helping Our People Engage and Enjoy," said Darci McIntyre, LSW, director of volunteer programs at CMC.

Capable, competent and caring, each Caring Friend's goal is to develop a personal and trusting relationship with a Crandall resident to help meet their psychosocial needs. Often, through regular visitation and active listening, the relationship blossoms into a long-term friendship.

Before joining the program as a Caring Friend, volunteers attend a month of training which includes discussions on the concept of caring, developing listening skills, helping the depressed elder, and the losses of death and dying. The sessions are lead by Licensed Social Workers, nurses and the Copeland Chaplain and are guided by a pastoral approach.

Caring Friends are introduced with a careful understanding of residents' psychosocial needs and a clear recognition of the volunteer's special skills and abilities. Each Caring Friend is asked to commit to a regular weekly schedule of visitation and to meet weekly with the CMC Social Workers when supervision, suggestions and encouragement are offered.

The Caring Friend Program at Crandall Medical Center was recognized in 2003 by the Eagle Accreditation of the United Methodist Health and Welfare Ministries as a vital part of the Christian ministries of Copeland Oaks and Crandall Medical Center.