Value of volunteers is priceless at mountain nursing facility

Linda James, a 76-year-old, has plenty to do at Eckerd Living Center in Highlands because of volunteers.

"I know that I can make a difference in the lives of these residents; I know I can," said volunteer Linda Arnold. "All our volunteers can do that."

Facility administrator Ava Emory added, "In the day-to-day care, it's difficult to provide the companionship and that's what our volunteers bring to us."

"Loneliness is, in fact, one of the biggest things I think older people face," explained Arnold. "Volunteers can do a whole lot to deal with the loneliness.

On this day, combating that is as simple as a one-on-one game of dominoes. Sometimes, it's more.

"The nurse may be busy and can't take you outside, but then there will be a volunteer that will take you out... which is wonderful to me," said James.

To give you some idea just how valuable volunteers are, they donated some 3,200 hours at a value of more than $23,000 at this facility last year.

That's priceless to this 80-bed skilled nursing facility in more ways than one.

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