CAC volunteers gather to celebrate service

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Current and former members of the Stanly County Community Advisory Committee met recently to celebrate the group’s dedication as volunteer, grassroots advocates for residents in long-term care facilities.

The CAC is a group of citizens appointed by the Stanly County Board of Commissioners. There are currently 10 Stanly CAC volunteers.

The CAC is part of the Centralina Council of Government’s Agency on Aging. There are also CACs in the eight other COG counties.

Every quarter, the volunteers travel to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Stanly and once a year they travel to adult care homes. CAC volunteers also meet once a month.

Their main objective is to ensure that residents’ rights are enforced.

The Stanly CAC is the first and oldest CAC in the state, said Lindsay Tice, the regional ombudsman for COG’s Area Agency on Aging. Trice serves residents who live in Stanly.

“You all are the trailblazers,” said Patricia Cowan, former COG regional ombudsman for Stanly.

One of the volunteers, Janell Hawkins, has been with Stanly CAC since its inception more than 40 years ago.

The most rewarding part about being a CAC volunteer has been “seeing the care improve for the residents over the years,” Hawkins said.

“Getting to know the residents and being able to solve their issues” is the best part for William Rigsbee, who is the chairman of the committee.

He also calls bingo every Thursday at Trinity Place. He enjoys joking back and forth with the residents.

Many of the facility administrators were present as well.

The committee is important because “they’re another set of eyes when it comes to ensuring the residents are treated properly,” said Lydia Jacob, executive director of Woodhaven Court Assisted Living and Memory Care.

“It’s nice having the committee coming in and participating,” said Stephanie Herrin-Huneycutt, executive director at Trinity Place.

Besides spending time inspecting the facilities and talking with staff and residents, the volunteers help with events happening in the facilities. They also bring food for the residents.

The volunteers spend time fostering relationships with residents so if problems arise, the residents will feel comfortable to talk with the volunteers.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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