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Volunteer finds key to rewarding retirement

Lending a Hand
By: Bruce Warren, Journal Staff Writer
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Anne Turinsky found an answer to life after retirement when she decided to volunteer for the Recreation and Respite Program at the DeWitt Center in Auburn. “When you first retire you ask yourself, ‘What am I going to do?’” Turinsky said. “I am so glad I am involved in the R-and-R Program.” The program actually started in 1993 in Roseville, but began in Auburn in 2006, when Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital saw the need locally. Joni Trykar, senior services coordinator with Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, played a key role in starting the program. Trykar quickly signed up her mother, Turinsky, 84, to work with seniors who have memory difficulties and Turinsky has been a regular ever since. “A lot of them live in the past and are mentally impaired,” Turinsky said. “Some are in wheelchairs.” On Tuesday, Turinsky sat at a table with 96-year-old Marguerite Hare of Christian Valley. Hare originally moved here from North Carolina where she earned a living as a chef. Turninsky and Hare enjoyed a friendly game of bingo Tuesday with the rest of the group. “We have a good time as a group,” Hare said. “Anne’s my friend. She helps me with the bingo.” Volunteer Connie Jordan was calling out the bingo numbers Tuesday. Jordan has volunteered since the program started. She appreciates Turinsky’s character qualities and said she comes a lot. “Anne’s very patient and very enjoyable to work with,” Jordan said. “She’s always happy. She’s our song leader and knows all the songs.” Sing-alongs with songs from the past such as “Down By the Old Mill Stream,” get the seniors merrily rolling into their younger years. Playing some board games can be too challenging for most of seniors, who average about 80 years old, Trykar said. It’s a great mood enhancer to get them singing. Many who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia have no problem recalling the lyrics. “It’s hard to believe they know the songs the way they do,” Turinsky said. “They love the sing-alongs.” About 20 seniors show up at the DeWitt Center each Tuesday at 9 a.m. for the program that lasts until 1 p.m. There is actually a waiting list to join the program and more volunteers are needed. “I’m always looking for volunteers,” Turinsky said. Besides the Recreation and Respite Program, Turinsky serves as the recording secretary for the Catholic Ladies Relief Society through St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Auburn. She’s been involved with the relief society for the past 10 years and has found some willing volunteers there for the “R-and-R” program. ---------- How to help Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital and Sutter Roseville Medical Center are looking for enthusiastic and energetic volunteers to assist with the Recreation and Respite Programs located in Auburn, Lincoln and Roseville. Volunteer opportunities include providing companionship to seniors, helping with arts and crafts projects, encouraging the seniors to participate in pet visits and watching various types of entertainment. The Recreation and Respite program offers these engaging activities for seniors with physical or memory impairments to enhance the well-being of the participants while providing free time to their caregivers. For additional information, contact Joni Trykar at (916) 781-1559 or trykanj@sutterhealth.org. Click here for an updated list on ways you can help out in the community. Ways to Lend a Hand Would you like to recognize someone who lends a hand to those in need? Nominate a volunteer for this feature by e-mailing ajournal@goldcountrymedia.com.