Ayre Manor
Ayre Manor

Ayre Manor Volunteer Manual


Please download, print and fill out our Volunteer Agreement (PDF)

Introduction to Ayre Manor

The most important people in or facility are our residents.

Ayre Manor is a licensed care facility operated by the Sooke Elderly Citizen’s Housing Society. Ayre Manor is considered a campus of care as it offers independent living cottages, assisted living apartments, and complex care and Hospice palliative care suites.

The most important people in our facility are our residents. We make every effort to provide residents with the best care possible, while providing programs to enhance their livelihood. Our residents in complex care are here because they are no longer able to care for themselves, and therefore live here permanently. Most of our residents have some form of disability, whether it be physical, mental, or both. We strive to provide exceptional care for our residents while enabling them to maximize their livelihoods by focusing on their abilities rather than disabilities.

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Volunteers in Ayre Manor

Volunteers at Ayre Manor come from all walks of life, and their skills, enthusiasm, and experiences add richness to the care of our residents. Volunteers play a meaningful role in our facility, as they are able to contribute to the lives of residents in ways that our professional staff simply cannot. Not only do volunteers provide a vital link between our organization and the people we serve, but they also improve the quality of life for our residents. The appreciation and respect of our volunteers is revealed in the working relationship we have with the many wonderful individuals who donate their time to contribute to the lives of our residents.

As a volunteer it is very important that you enjoy working with older people, have an understanding of our resident’s limitations, and demonstrate empathy and patience when working with them. The cheerful and friendly attitude of volunteers adds richness and joy Ayre Manor during interactions with residents and staff.

Volunteer Goals

The aim of our volunteer program is to enable volunteers to enhance the lives of our residents.

The aim of Ayre Manor’s volunteer program is to enable volunteers to enhance the livelihood of residents. By providing this volunteer opportunity for residents in the community we believe they will be able to contribute greatly to the lives of our residents by sharing their skills and experiences.

Volunteer Vision

We feel that volunteers make an invaluable contribution to our facility, and hope that the contribution will continue and grow in the future. We see the relationship we have with volunteers as mutually beneficial. Ayre Manor benefits greatly from volunteers’ efforts, while volunteers receive the opportunity for personal growth, sharing and developing skills, and building friendships, while contributing to the community.

Importance of Volunteers

Volunteers serve a very important role in our facility, and the effects of a volunteer’s contributions are immeasurable.

Volunteers serve a very important role in our facility, and the effects of a volunteer’s contributions are immeasurable. By sharing their skills, enthusiasm, and experiences, volunteers are able to interact and spend time with residents, while staff attend to physical and medical needs. The relationship between volunteers and residents can become more of a friend to friend rather than a professional to resident. Beyond the benefits to our residents, there are many benefits to the volunteer. These benefits include:

  • Increased awareness of the disorders, and information regarding the underlying causes and treatments
  • Learning and developing new skills
  • Being less likely to become dependent on the health care system
  • Gaining a sense of accomplishment
  • Keeping mentally alert through interaction
  • Contributing to the lives of an important portion of the population
  • Accessing the knowledge and wisdom of individuals rich with life experiences
  • Making a connection with the community
  • Building friendships

Volunteers are also very important in their ability to influence social changes and beliefs about facilities such as Ayre Manor and the people we serve. Volunteers are able to provide public education to family, friends, and other members of the community regarding issues related to aging.

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Responsibilities of Ayre Manor to Volunteers

Volunteers should fulfill their duties in a faithful and committed manner.

The efforts made by volunteers are essential to the ability of our organization to provide such an exceptional level of care. In order to keep this relationship strong we have several responsibilities to our volunteers. Our responsibilities include:

  • Treating volunteers as valued and integral members of the organization
  • Matching positions that are meaningful and suitable to the needs and abilities of the volunteer
  • Providing orientation and training to the facility and the volunteer’s position
  • Providing regular feedback and evaluation to the volunteers
  • Recognizing the feedback provided by volunteers
  • Offering educational training opportunities specific to the populations volunteers are working with

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Responsibilities of Volunteers

As with the responsibilities we have to our volunteers, we feel that our volunteers have responsibilities to our organization. These responsibilities include:

  • Attending orientation and training to be prepared for the volunteer position
  • Maintaining communication with the Volunteer Coordinator and other staff regarding the volunteer role
  • Fulfilling the duties of the volunteer position in a faithful and committed manner
  • Respecting and adhering to all facility, organizational, and volunteer policies
  • Positively representing Ayre Manor in the community

Examples of Volunteer Jobs:

  • Resident companion (taking residents on walks, reading to them, writing letters)
  • Assisting with crafts and coffee and tea

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Volunteer Coordinator: Linda Quigley

Title: Director of Activation and Day Programs
The Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for the ongoing management and operation of volunteer services within the facility. The Volunteer Coordinator will discuss the volunteer programs and opportunities with the volunteer so that a mutually based decision can be made regarding the position the volunteer will fill in our facility.

What Volunteers can Expect from the Coordinator

Your experience and excitement is important to our facility and is greatly appreciated!

Our coordinator aims to make volunteers feel comfortable with the facility. This is achieved through:

  • Orientation: suitable orientation of the facility and the role of the volunteer position
  • Volunteer assignments: volunteers will be assigned to an appropriate program
  • Communication and contact to provide feedback, instruction, important information, and to accept feedback from the volunteer regarding any comments, concerns, or questions regarding the volunteer role

What the Coordinator Expects from Volunteers

As a committed volunteer and valuable asset to our team, the volunteer coordinator expects volunteers will:

  • Be dependable: attend orientation (training), arrive on time, communicate with the coordinator if their role cannot be fulfilled
  • Be willing to communicate with regard to questions or concerns and regular reporting
  • Respect confidentiality: when with residents you may hear personal and private information; please respect and follow our policies regarding confidential information
  • Understand your role, including the responsibilities and duties needed to perform appropriate tasks
  • Be enthusiastic: your experience and excitement is important to our facility and is greatly appreciated

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Heath Care Team

Teamwork is essential when working in our facility.

As a volunteer you are an essential part of the Health Care Team which provides care to our residents. Teamwork is essential when working in our facility. Each volunteer will be working with many different staff and volunteers. Every staff member has a different role within our facility; some work directly with residents, including nurses, care aides, dietary and activities staff; other staff, including maintenance, housekeeping, kitchen staff, and administration, work indirectly with residents, but equally contribute to their care. Volunteers are an essential part of our team as they are able to give a resident full attention and interact with them in a relaxed manner.

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Volunteers may become aware of private or personal information regarding residents, staff, and fellow volunteers. Any confidential information that a volunteer becomes aware of must remain confidential. Please be sure to respect the privacy of all individuals you have contacted within our organization. This information may include medical conditions, records, or procedures, as well as other private information concerning a client’s personal experiences. It is absolutely essential that confidentiality regarding any Ayre Manor information be upheld at all times.

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Liability & Insurance

While volunteering at Ayre Manor, volunteers are covered under the general liability policy for the facility.

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Volunteer Policies

Volunteers must sign in and wear volunteer name tags.

  • All prospective volunteers will be interviewed and screened by the Volunteer Coordinator; this screening will include a criminal record check.
  • No one under the age of 16 years may volunteer unless accompanied by an adult, or approved specifically by the Administrator.
  • Volunteers will be given assignments by the Volunteer Coordinator which enrich the lifestyle of the residents. In no instance will a volunteer perform the job of a staff member; if the volunteer is at all unclear, clarify with the Volunteer Coordinator.
  • All persons will enter Ayre Manor through designated entrances and exits.
  • All persons on the premises of Ayre Manor will be in the building for specific purposes only.
  • All volunteers will sign in and will wear “Volunteer” tags.
  • Any unusual occurrence involving a volunteer (eg. prowling, entrance into prohibited areas, inappropriate behaviour) will be reported to a staff member.
  • Any information regarding residents, staff, and fellow volunteers must remain confidential. We expect all volunteers to uphold confidentiality with extremely high regard at all times, within and outside of the facility.
  • In case of emergency, remove the resident from danger. If there is no immediate danger, excuse yourself and inform the nearest staff member of the situation; identify yourself as a volunteer and follow the staff member’s directions.
  • Ayre Manor will provide appropriate volunteer recognition.

Dress Code:

  • Volunteers must have a clean and tidy appearance
  • Volunteers must wear close toed and heeled shoes
  • Volunteers must NOT wear any perfume

Smoking Policy: There is NO smoking allowed inside the facility or on the facility’s grounds

At Ayre Manor, Volunteers DO NOT

  • Lift residents
  • Take a resident off their floor without asking a nurse first
  • Assist residents in the bathroom
  • Assist residents when dressing
  • Put residents to bed or put side rails up or down
  • Give residents anything to eat or drink, unless instructed by staff
  • Ask any intimate personal or health related questions or discuss your own intimate personal business with the residents
  • Give your phone number (or personal contact information) to a resident
  • Accept money from the residents or gifts of monetary value
  • If at any time you are unsure of the duties you are allowed to perform, please ask a staff member

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Helpful Tips for Working with Residents

Volunteers should be good listeners.

Volunteering with our residents is an opportunity to develop a special relationship and add quality to the lives of each person. Often a volunteer just needs to be a good listener for our residents. Be aware that the residents might not directly appreciate your efforts, but know that your effort is very important to their care and is making an excellent contribution to their wellness. To be an effective volunteer it is important to determine and recognize your own skills and abilities and work within them. Volunteering is also an excellent opportunity to develop various skills and gain experience; make the most of the opportunity.

To help residents be more independent and feel better about themselves:

  • Get to know the resident as an individual
  • Give the resident the ability to make a decision
  • Encourage independence
  • Encourage pursuit of the individual’s interests
  • Recognize their achievements; let them know they have done well
  • Respect the residents at all times
  • Communicate in a manor that can be easily understood


  • Each person is an individual with likes, dislikes, interests, and opinions – old age does not necessarily change (or eliminate) them.
  • Over the years each resident has gained a wealth of experience and wisdom: it needs only to be shared.
  • The elderly, even those who are confused, are not children. Pay them the respect their years have accorded them.

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Communicate in a manner that can be easily understood. It can take a senior longer to send and receive messages.

It is important to communicate with residents in a clear manner, which can be easily understood. Be aware that it often takes an older person longer to send and receive messages. There are many interfering factors that can hamper communication with a resident. Some of these factors are:

  • Depression, confusion, and disorientation
  • Lack of verbal abilities (although they may completely understand what you are saying)
  • Decreased ability in vision, hearing, and speech

Effects of Communication

Communication with residents is very important and can provide joy and stimulation to their lives. Communication can:

  • Relieve loneliness
  • Stimulate thinking
  • Restore self-worth
  • Exchange ideas and experiences
  • Foster friendships
  • Establish mutual respect

The way we communicate with residents is very important. There are several considerations in being an effective communicator:

  • Be a good listener
  • Explain your role as a volunteer
  • Observe as you listen
  • Remember individuals' names
  • Be patient and encouraging
  • Consider all residents, do not show partiality to certain individuals
  • Voice suggestions, criticisms, problems or concerns to your supervisor


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Special Considerations

Get to know the senior as an individual so you can understand their abilities as well as disabilities.

There are a multitude of disabilities affecting the individual residents in our facility. Many of the individuals that you will volunteer with have similar disabilities; some have one, others have several; some will be obvious, and others may be subtle. It is important to recognize that individuals have a disability so that care can be provided without it being interrupted by their disability. However, the most important thing to remember is that their disability should not get in the way of their livelihood, and we can help this by focusing on their abilities, rather than disabilities. If there is any situation that you are not comfortable with let the individual or a staff member know.

Decreased Mental Capabilities

Decreases in mental function can have many impacts on the afflicted individuals and their families. As mental capabilities decrease, change to individual’s personality, mood, and behaviour can occur. Day-to-day tasks can often become much more difficult and take longer to complete. Individuals with decreases in their mental capacity can often become frustrated when attempting tasks. Other effects can cause problems with judgement, concentration, speech, and physical coordination. Changes normally progress slowly over time. Here are some suggestions for working with individuals with decreased mental capabilities:

  • Be patient when looking for a response (provide reminders and recognize the time it can take to process information)
  • Aim for simplicity for instructions and tasks
  • Provide a safe, comfortable and secure environment
  • Focus on strengths and abilities
  • Encourage participation in activities
  • Use distractions in upsetting situations
  • Acknowledge, listen, and accept; individuals with decreased mental capabilities have a great deal of life experience to offer, and are still able too

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Alzheimer Disease

The term dementia is used to describe conditions that result in progressive loss of mental functions.

Alzheimer Disease is a disorder of the brain that causes loss of memory and serious mental deterioration. The disease occurs when groups of nerve endings in the outer layer of the brain (cortex) degenerate and disrupt the passage of electrochemical signals between cells (also known as “plaques”). It can also be caused by changes to nerve fibres called “neurofibrillary tangles.” As degeneration occurs, the greater amount of abnormalities will lead to greater disturbance in intellectual function and memory. The term dementia is used to describe conditions that result in progressive loss of mental functions. Approximately half of dementia victims have Alzheimer Disease, another quarter have diseased blood vessels that impair brain function, and the remainder suffer from conditions such as brain tumours, thyroid dysfunction and pernicious anemia (lack of oxygen in the brain). Individuals with Alzheimer Disease initially only exhibit minor and almost imperceptible symptoms, but gradually the person becomes more forgetful. As memory loss increases, changes appear in personality, mood, and behaviour. The individual may take longer to complete a chore that was previously routine or repeat already answered questions. Judgements, concentration, speech, and physical coordination may also be affected. The symptoms are usually progressive, but there is a great deal of variation in rate of change from person to person. In some cases changes will be rapid; however, it is more common that changes will occur slowly over a long period of time, including a period with little or no change at all. A person with Alzheimer Disease is often unaware or may even deny the full extent of his or her limitations. The illness is often a source of deep frustration for those afflicted and their loved ones.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer Disease currently, there are strategies used to treat the effects of the illness. Effective medical care and proper guidance can assist the person and family members coping with the condition. Having a daily routine, physical activities, and social contacts should be encouraged and will benefit the afflicted individuals. It needs to be recognized that an individual with Alzheimer Disease may find it difficult to comprehend changes taking place in his or her thinking and behaviour. Volunteers also need to know that there can be a lack of noticeable progress in individuals with the disease and they should not become discouraged if an individual is disoriented, does not remember the volunteer, or shows a decline despite the volunteer’s efforts. Residents will benefit from therapeutic encounters that encourage them to mobilize inner resources and regain a sense of belonging.

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Impaired Hearing

When working with individuals with hearing impairments, it is important to recognize that many of these individuals can hear at a functional level with the assistance of hearing aids. Other impairments can cause the individual to hear only specific frequencies, sound at a certain volume, or nothing at all. Another important consideration is that many everyday (background) noises, such as fans and lights, that do not affect people with adequate hearing, may have pronounced effects on the ability of individuals with hearing impairments to hear. Some suggestions for working with individuals with hearing impairments:

  • Speak more slowly and in a normal, low tone.
  • Speak loudly, if necessary, but don’t shout. Shouting distorts sounds and is painful to individuals with hearing aids.
  • Attempt to eliminate background noises, they can be very distracting.
  • Hearing aids generally makes sounds louder, not necessarily any clearer.

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Impaired Vision

Give specific directions. Example: "Walk straight 20 steps then turn left at the rose bush."

Impaired vision does not necessarily mean that an individual is blind. Often the impairment is a case of “low vision,” when a person has a visual impairment, but has some usable sight. For individuals with a visual impairment, standard print may be too small to read, objects may appear blurry, or vision may only be within a limited field. Other effects can be images with sections missing or blacked out. Here are some suggestions for working with individuals with visual impairments:

  • Ensure adequate lighting
  • Alert the individual before doing something unexpected; the individual can be startled by a sudden change in direction or speed
  • Give specific directions, do not say “over there,” rather use directions such as “on your right” or “in front of you"
  • Use the individual’s name often, and always identify yourself
  • Let the individual know if you are leaving
  • Try not to restrict the individual’s freedom, but be conscious of safety concerns
  • Describe the environment you are in

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Mobility Impairments

Walk at their pace; do not rush them.

Mobility impairments can include difficulties with any part of the body. Individuals with lower body impairments can require canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, while upper body impairments can limit the use of hands and arms. Individuals with mobility impairments will often take more time to get from one place to another, and could require rest along the way. Mobility impairments can limit an individual’s ability to handle and manipulate objects involved in day-to-day tasks. Here are some suggestions for working with individuals with mobility impairments:

  • Ask if the individual would like help. Only offer it if they would like assistance.
  • Consider an individual’s wheelchair or walker as an extension of their body. Do not lean on or place a foot on the wheelchair or walker.
  • It is often helpful to simply put out your arm and allow the individual to reach to you, giving them the option of accepting your help.
  • Speak to individuals with mobility impairments in a normal tone; their mobility problem does not necessarily affect their hearing.
  • Try and talk to the individual at eye level as it will make them more comfortable.

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How to Push a Wheelchair

Wheelchairs need to be pushed slower than you think.

  • Ensure the seatbelt is in place, if the chair is equipped with one.
  • Release the brakes on the front of the wheels before moving the wheelchair.
  • Ask the individual to lift their feet when moving the wheelchair.
  • Wheelchairs need to be pushed slower than you think because the person riding is lower to the ground and there is a greater sensation of speed. Ask the resident if you are pushing too quickly.

Most curbs have been ramped, but in the event that you encounter one that is not, here is a method to wheel up a curb:

  • Tilt the Chair Backwards: Place foot on tipping lever, and apply a pushing force. At the same time pull back and down on the push handles. Pull back until chair is balanced and can be moved on its rear wheels.
  • Move Forward to Curb: With chair tilted move forward to curb and lower front of chair on the curb and move in as close as possible before tilting.
  • Lift onto Curb: With both feet securely planted on the ground, lean forward and lift-roll the chair up over the curb without having to step forward (bend your knees while keeping your back straight).
  • On the Sidewalk: Observe other pedestrian traffic.

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Helping Someone with a Walker

Encourage seniors to keep both hands on their walker.

  • DO NOT push the walker when someone is sitting on it.
  • If the individual gets tired while walking allow them to stop and rest before moving on.
  • Understand that people using a walker often walk slower than normal; do not rush them, just walk at their pace.
  • Encourage people to use their walkers whenever they are walking, and to keep both hands on it.
  • Caution the individual about any bumps or cracks they may have to go over.
  • Should an individual need to use stairs, consult a staff member on how to help them.

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Thank You!

We would like to thank you very much for volunteering. The efforts of volunteers are amazing and we are all made richer from the experience. We hope that you enjoy your time in the facility and are able to gain as much from volunteering as we gain from having you in our facility.

Please download, print and fill out our Volunteer Agreement (PDF).

Ayre Manor

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