Companion Care Program:
Includes providing escorted transportation to access health care and other vital services, medication reminders, running errands, planning and preparing healthy meals, encouraging exercise and healthy lifestyle, helping with household chores and providing respite for those dedicated to providing care for a loved one. It is our mission to help older adults and individuals with disabilities remain as independent and self-sufficient for as long as possible.
Our past interns have gone on to become social workers with Hospice and the Department of Social Services, to pursue careers at continuing care communities and one of our past interns is now the Director of Social Work at a local nursing home. Former interns have also attended medical school at Harvard, Wake Forest, UNC-CH, and other highly respected universities.
We give students the opportunity to work on projects and reports focusing on innovative and exciting topics. Some of their previous projects have included such issues as:
-Studies on Older Drivers and Dementia: Who is responsible for telling an individual with advanced dementia that he or she can no longer drive? What role does the community play in providing alternative transportation?
-Sensitivity training for elementary school students to better understand the challenges faced by their older relatives.
Teams of volunteers help with tasks that can be overwhelming for a frail elderly person or a tired family caregiver. Projects include raking leaves, seasonal cleaning, and helping to prepare for a household move. Volunteers can be youth, church or community groups as well as teams of individuals.
Annual Valentine Delivery and Serenade- This event involves more than 1000 volunteers who participate in our organization’s annual “Valentine Delivery and Serenade.” Volunteers include those from faith-based communities, schools, university students, and civic and campus club members. We also engage elected officials to raise awareness. It truly is a community wide event, with volunteers making about 5,000 hand-crafted cards for distribution to more than 2,500 older adults in our community. This event has been featured in local media, including an extensive article in Our State magazine.
Service Learning Program:
A Helping Hand partners with UNC-CH through their APPLES Program and with Duke University to provide credited internships. There is a pre-health internship program that provides both paid and unpaid internships for students pursuing careers in health care. At a time when less than 2 percent of all medical students are considering geriatrics, our internship program is inspiring students to seriously consider this concentration as physicians, nurses, social workers, and public health professionals.
One of our interns had this to say about her experience working with older adults through A Helping Hand: “Many of my classmates were initially uncomfortable dealing with patients. My work as a companion with A Helping Hand provided the skills and confidence to interact with many different types of people.” - Laura K.
Interns gain hands-on experience providing direct care in the home setting, increasing their awareness of the issues surrounding older adults. They also attend monthly trainings on related topics such as Sensitivity, Mobility and Dementia. In addition, A Helping Hand provides a training ground for students doing graduate research in Public Health and Education. Last semester’s interns also included students receiving course credit in Anthropology, Public Relations and Mass Media for serving 30 hours with our organization.