One-to-One Friends is the heart of LITA's face of friendship for the elderly and disabled. We screen and match volunteers with residents of long-term care facilities for weekly visits. LITA volunteers bring friendship, laughter, and something to look forward to for otherwise isolated elderly people. Over 60% of the elderly living in facilities receive very few visitors.
The Pet Connection
When people move into a long-term care facility, they often leave a beloved pet behind. This is a devastating separation from their companion. With The Pet Connection, volunteers bring their pets as part of their weekly visits. Pet therapy visits help pet lovers make connections with people who have not been responsive to other types of interactions. LITA accepts well behaved pets with basic obedience and commands mastered. The Canine Good Citizen Test is the guideline to behaviors needed to be a successful Pet Connection friend.
This program matches families with residents of facilities for weekly visits. Some visit several people at smaller facilities, while others are matched with one individual for long-term friendship and support. A family visit to a LITA elder is a source of much joy and learning for all involved.
Our program matches elementary school classes with residents of care facilities for periodic visits during the school year. It is a mutually beneficial experience for both generations as they develop warm and close friendships. LITA provides the necessary coordination and project supplies in order to make this a meaningful experience.
Bridging Thru Music
This program launched in October 2017. It brings together amateur musicians and residents in long-term care facilities for informal performances in recreation rooms, dining areas, or wherever there is sufficient room. The informal nature means less pressure for performers and allows better interaction between players and residents. It adds social interaction as well as music, which is an important component of all LITA programs.
For young persons, playing in informal settings has less of the pressure associated with formal recitals. Seeing others enjoy what one is playing and being able to interact with them can only promote a greater appreciation of music and desire to continue learning and playing. Much like Bridging Generations, they will grow in their understanding and appreciation of older residents by interacting with them.
For older persons there is renewed interest in encouraging artistic expression that may have long been dormant during years of focusing on work and parenthood. There is time now to explore new things or renew old things that they did not have time for before. Toder’s book “The Vintage Years” examines this growing interest in artistic expression fostering creativity in old age. This program will help nurture such activities.
Facility residents and other listeners in informal settings need not be passive like a symphony audience but can interact with those playing by singing or playing along or learning how a particular instrument works. Some may be encouraged to engage in arts projects themselves, either individually or by joining with other residents such as the knitting and singing groups at the Redwoods. It is never too late to start playing or taking part in other arts projects.