As a young girl, Reana Allen enjoyed visiting our adult day health program, Great Days for Seniors, at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Reana would come with her aunt, Lorna White, an activity coordinator in the program. “I still remember those days and how much fun I had. It made me feel like I had a second family,” says Reana. “I was surrounded by lots of people. They were like my grandpa and grandma.”
When other kids her age were hanging out with friends during school vacations, Reana would spend her time with the seniors enrolled in the program. “A lot of the time I would introduce the seniors to one another and help them make friends. Especially for the seniors who were new to the program. I wanted to make them feel comfortable. A lot of the time the seniors loved sharing stories with one another, and I facilitated discussion groups.”
Now, Reana, a sophomore in college, volunteers at Great Days for Seniors. “I enjoy coming here as much as I did when I was younger. I have a lot more responsibility as a volunteer. I’m treated like one of the staff. I help with all kinds of things. I like greeting everyone in the morning. This is their home away from home, at least for part of the day, and I want it to feel homelike.
I assist seniors at lunchtime and this is a big help to the staff. If a group activity seems overwhelming to a senior, or someone just can’t relax, I can sit with him or her and make them feel like someone is giving them special care. The days go by so fast and I never want it to end.”
Reana is studying to become a nurse and credits her volunteer experience for helping with her career decision. “I am surrounded by people who care for seniors, and this is what I envision myself doing. If someone has a change in medication or has a medical issue, I want to be the person who monitors them.”
“Growing up in the program like I did has made me a better person. And with all of my volunteer experience I’m ready to do more. I’m sensitive to the needs of others and feel like I have a gift to give back. I just have to get through nursing school.”
Reana doesn’t have much time for activities outside of the classroom, but when she does, she can be found volunteering with seniors. “I can’t think of a better place to volunteer. I’m right at home helping out in any way I can. As a volunteer I always put a smile on someone’s face, but I leave with a bigger smile, knowing I’ll return to do more good.”
Interested in volunteering? Hebrew Rehabilitation Center is looking for volunteers to enhance the lives of seniors in Great Days for Seniors, and volunteer in other needed capacities throughout the organization. For more information, call (617) 363-8421 or fill out a volunteer application online.
Adult Day Health Program at Hebrew SeniorLife
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center has 20 years of experience caring for seniors in an adult day health center setting. We provide “Great Days for Seniors” at two Boston locations– Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC) in Roslindale and Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) in Brighton. We serve older adults of all backgrounds and faiths and provide bilingual services for Russian-speaking individuals at our Brighton location.
Learn more about Great Days for Seniors