Volunteers provide a human element

Published 10:27 pm Monday, January 12, 2009

Two stories in today’s edition deal with people volunteering to help their neighbors meet various healthcare-related needs. In one, a church group provides monthly foot care to senior citizens and others unable to take care of their own feet. Separately, an area cancer support group has teamed up with a local salon to offer chemotherapy patients help with finding wigs.

With the state’s growing ranks of baby boomers who are entering the ranks of senior citizens, Virginians will undoubtedly come to rely more and more each year not just on paid healthcare providers and support agencies, but also on the kindnesses of strangers to help them deal with problems associated with getting quality healthcare.

It will come as no surprise to the adult caregivers of the elderly that actually being able to pay for healthcare is only the first hurdle for elderly patients. For them, the path to good health can be littered with unexpected obstacles, from arranging transportation to and from appointments to understanding the vagaries of Medicare to choosing a prescription drug benefit program, and more.


Email newsletter signup

The situation means there will be loads of opportunities for caring volunteers with pertinent skills and experience — or even just time — to help out. As the population of elderly healthcare patients grows, American taxpayers are sure to find themselves supporting ever-increasing numbers of government programs aimed at improving care for senior citizens.

Every volunteer who steps up to help will help reduce the system’s taxpayer burden. As a bonus, all those volunteers will provide a level of humanity that is so often absent from government-sponsored healthcare. That human element is at the root of both Suffolk stories today.