What the Surveyor Experience Has Meant to Our Volunteers
Over 500 Surveyors have invested over 20,000 hours interviewing residents throughout British Columbia about their experiences living in care. In true patient-centred measurement fashion, we thought it might be time to ask the volunteers about their experiences as Volunteer Surveyors with the BC Office of the Seniors Advocate’s Every Voice Counts: Long-Term Care Resident Survey.
Here are some of the comments that volunteers shared with us:
Was your role as a Volunteer Surveyor for this project what you expected it would be?
“… I would like to share my appreciation to the project team for a tremendously well-organized Interview process, training, and volunteer support. I have worked and volunteered with many organizations and your approach is by far one of the best.”
“It was emotional but rewarding, especially as many of the residents thanked me for spending time with them. It is apparent that our LTC residents, or at least many of them, are lonely and that was a hard lesson to learn.”
“I felt valued and welcomed and I enjoyed the experience.”
“Apart from my “expected role” as a Volunteer Surveyor, I experienced so much “empathy” and admiration for the strength and resilience shown by the residents, having shared with me their background left their “familiar surroundings, precious “home”, without their loved ones and into a new and unfamiliar surroundings. They were inspirations for me to continue the commitment I made to do the best with the goal of making positive changes needed so they all can continue to have a “quality of life.”
“It was an opportunity to share time with and give voice to elders in my community.”
“I knew before starting that I would meet many amazing people during the survey process. My expectations were surpassed – it was a privilege to spend time with so many wonderful people.”
“It was a positive experience. I certainly valued the freedom we were given to “simply visit with the residents if they were interested. I found this to be the most rewarding for me and hopefully for them. For each person I approached about participating in an interview, I also offered an opportunity to visit if they were not interested in the interview. I found the majority of residents appreciated the opportunity for human contact regardless of whether they participated in the interview or not. I loved from the residents and enjoyed these visits tremendously!”
What did you enjoy the most about being a Volunteer Surveyor?
“I truly enjoyed engaging with the participants in the survey. They touched my heart. If I did nothing else, I know I brought some joy into their day.”
“Giving people the opportunity to have their voice heard by participating in the survey was the most enjoyable aspect.”
“Interacting with each individual resident on a personal level. They all have such unique personalities and life experiences that factored into the interaction.”
“I really enjoyed getting to spend time with the residents, all were so pleased to be part of a survey about their care. I was happy to be part of giving them all a voice”
“I enjoyed meeting the other surveyors and being able to share our experiences together.”
“Listening to peoples stories. Fascinating!!!! I learned so much.”
“Being able to connect with residents. Some residents felt like they were participating in something worthwhile. Some residents were happy to have someone spend some one-on-one time with them.”
“I enjoyed seeing for myself the difference that caring helpers make for people who need it – it restores my faith in how good people can be.”
“Meeting with the residents! Definitely. What a joy to meet such great personalities. They are not on T.V. but boy! With a lifetime of carving and experience and molding and fashioning from life. They were each a unique design. And a sheer pleasure to interact with. So real, so honest, so truthful.”
“…how wonderful it was to see the resident’s critical thinking skills fire up when I was asking them questions and interviewing them. It was truly fascinating to see that positive and exiting change in them. You could see the wheels turning, it was really cool.”
What did being a part of this project mean to you?
“Wow wee! Amazing we completed this monumental project. It sure was fun talking to all the sweet, interesting and unique people living in long-term care homes. It was a beautiful and profound experience, and I loved going to those care homes to visit with the residents, interview them and make them feel good. It was lots of fun, and quite sad too, but it was one of the most real, truthful and genuine nine months of my life. I’ll never forget this.”
“It has been an honour and pleasure to meet all the people I have surveyed. There have been so many interesting and funny and varied stories and we have even shed a few tears together. I wish we could publish some of these stories. Our elders are so soon forgotten, especially when they are locked behind doors, both literally and figuratively.”
“I am very grateful to have been part of this important project. I loved being with the residents, and it made me very happy to bring some joy and fun and kindness into their lives, and let them know how very special they are and that their voices are valued. I loved every day I volunteered, and all the wonderful people I met.”
“I have really enjoyed my volunteer time – far more that I had expected. Although I have finished my 40 hour commitment, I intend to continue volunteering until the project comes to an end.”
“I have truly enjoyed every single heart felt interaction with all the residents I have met. It is amazing to me that I am afforded this gift to chat with people that have lived the most lovely lives. I have a whole new appreciation of the lived experience.”
“I keep all these residents (seen and unseen) in my heart at the end of every day and for the rest of my life it seems. They are all so sweet.”
“ It gave me a unique, rich opportunity to expand my life and a great connection to a community in my own neighbourhood.”
“My time on the project has come to an end. It’s great that is finished, and hopefully, some good comes from all the work that went into the survey. Spending so much time with the residents has certainly shown that improvements need to be made. The final months, weeks, days, and hours of senior residents in these facilities needs to be improved and I hope that I have helped to make some of it possible.”
To hear more volunteer experiences please watch the Every Voice Counts: Long-Term Care Survey Volunteers Talk About Their Experience Video.