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The Gift of Music

Three brothers from Missouri have been uplifting the spirits of the elderly in nursing homes through their orchestral music. Lemuel, Doren, and Alvin Lan volunteer at assisted living facilities by playing music to the residents and calming their minds. Lemuel and Doren play violin and Alvin plays the cello, and the brothers play classical music.

Lori Schmoll, a Volunteer Coordinator at VNA-TIP Healthcare, noticed how the boys’ music affected the nursing home residents: “Seeing young people under the age of 21 sparks interest. Having youth volunteers is a positive change of pace. With the Lan brothers performing, a noticeable calming effect drew in and attracted much of the facility as an audience.”

Since the normal visiting hours for non-faculty or residents is 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., it is difficult to find adult volunteers who work or younger volunteers who attend school. Normally, their youngest volunteer age is 18 but you can volunteer at 16 if yours parents sign a waiver. But, like in the Lan brother’s case, they can accommodate younger volunteers.

VNA-TIP Healthcare would love more volunteers like the Lan brothers to share their skills and entertain the residents of their assisted living facilities. Lori says, “It would be great for people to share their many talents. VNA-TIP HealthCare could use artists, singers, craftsmen, creative types, party planners or group leaders. We need people who can read out loud, write a letter, help with scrapbooking or making crafts; just to be able to show an interest in someone who has limited time left on the planet.” For younger individuals, Lori says it would be great if they could volunteer in groups, with their school, or individually.

It is especially important to volunteer in an assisted living facility because the residents can become very lonely since they were once surrounded by friends and family and now are living somewhere new. But it definitely takes a patient person to volunteer at a nursing home; “You must learn patience, to be still and observe. It takes longer for them to formulate ideas and answers—to find the right words,” Lori says. Even though it takes patience, you can learn many things from volunteering at assisted living facilities.