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Volunteers Needed to Advocate for Residents in Senior Care Facilities

Apr 02, 2024

People Inc. is offering certification training this spring for people interested in advocating for residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Erie County. 

The NYS Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program connects caring and effective advocates with older adults and people with disabilities who live in nursing homes, assisted living and other licensed adult care homes. The program is administered locally by People Inc. 
Volunteers, known as ombudsmen, visit residents to identify concerns. They investigate and resolve complaints to advocate for the rights of people living in long-term care facilities. Ombudsman volunteers assist with monitoring resident care and building conditions, while working with facility staff to correct problems, using a range of problem-resolution and advocacy skills. 
“Ombudsmen volunteers are urgently needed to serve society’s most vulnerable population,” said Susan Fenster, regional coordinator. “Our volunteers can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life.” 

Upon successful completion of a comprehensive 36-hour training program, Ombudsman volunteers are certified by the NY State Office for the Aging. They will work closely with their staff supervisor and are assigned to a facility in their area where they make weekly visits to meet with the facility residents. Schedules are flexible with a minimum of two hours per week required. 

The upcoming training will be provided virtually via Zoom on weekdays beginning in May. In-facility mentoring is also part of the curriculum. For more information on volunteering, call 716-817-9222. 

ABOUT PEOPLE INC.: People Inc. provides an array of support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, as well as health care services, senior services, services for the Deaf and hard of hearing, and affordable housing. Built on a strong foundation of innovation, collaboration, community and inclusion, People Inc. helps people throughout Western New York and the greater Rochester region achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity.  For more information, go to