Intergenerational Index
The Grandfriends Project -- A Program Creating Friendships Across the Generations Martin Kimeldorf, the author

Assignment #3

Information in Assignment #3 is based on volunteer training presentations given at typical care centers. It represents an important part of your training and skill as a volunteer. This worksheet contains information and 14 rules.

This information and the rules are so important that you are being asked to study them and then explain them to others. Typically, you could share this information with guardians or teachers, but you may want to choose friends, neighbors, coaches, or the school nurse. By having to explain the rules to others you concentrate and begin to memorize the information. Putting things in your own words also insures that you have thought about the rules and will therefore be able to make good decisions when unknown situations occur.


  1. Read each rule to two other people. Explain why the rule is important. At the end, ask the person listening to sign off that they think you understand the rules.

  2. This assignment must be completed before you can volunteer at the care center. Bring it back signed as soon as possible.

Diet & Food

As we age, our taste buds grow weak. As a result, older people often want food that is more highly seasoned, or they ask for an extra teaspoon of sugar in their tea--unless it upsets their stomach. Due to strokes, dementia, or other reasons, an older person can lose the ability to chew or swallow. As a result, he or she could choke while eating unless you remind them to swallow and chew. Note, this is only true of a few older people. Some residents may have a special diet. As a result there are certain foods which some residents must NOT eat.

Rule #1 -- Never get someone food (even water) unless you know it is on their approved diet plan. If someone asks you for food and you are unsure, simply say, "I'd love to get that candy bar for you, but I need to first ask my supervisor or the nurse." This shows you want to help but know that you must get permission first.

Preventing and Controlling Infection

Older people have weaker immune systems so they can catch cold germs from us easily. They may also have germs and illnesses which you wouldn't want to catch. The ways we transmit germs is from touching a person's skin, wheelchair, or clothing which may have drool, tears, sweat, or other secretions on it. Remember, a wheelchair handle can carry germs. The most common way to transfer these germs to yourself is by touching skin, clothing or handles and then touching your face, rubbing your nose or eyes.

Rule #2 -- Wash when you first visit and before you leave. This will get rid of germs.

Rule #3 -- Anytime you hold a hand, touch your face, or touch a garment, excuse yourself to wash your hands. You don't have to tell them why; just say, "Excuse me for a minute. I need to take care of something." Wash in warm soapy water for 10 seconds and get in between your fingers.

Rule #4 -- Special notices by the door indicate the person is under isolation. Never enter without first getting permission from a Nurse's station.

Rule #5 -- Follow the Universal Precaution Rule: Assume everyone has an infectious disease like HIV or Hepatitis B. This includes teachers, other students, nurses, residents. Assume all blood, drool, or other bodily fluid could have a disease which could infect you. If you see a pool of fluid, don't clean it up by yourself. If you are asked by staff to clean it up make sure you wear gloves.

Rule #6 -- If you have a cold, stay at home or at school. Don't go to the nursing home if you think you have been exposed to cold or flu germs. If you have any of these symptoms, please consider not going for a visit: a fever, sore throat, rash (like poison ivy), sneezing.

Wheelchair Protocols

Think of a wheelchair as part of a person's body. It is private and should be respected. Don't lean on it or become familiar with a chair until after you know the person very well.

Rule #7 -- Never come up from behind and start wheeling them away. Always come around to the front, kneel down, and ask them where they'd like to go.

Rule #8 -- Lock the wheels before a person gets into or out of a chair.

Rule #9 -- Watch the patient's feet and go slow as your push the chair. Not all wheelchairs have foot rests. If your patient does not have foot rests on the chair, they can only be pushed when they keep their feet up.

Rule #10 -- Never move a person into or out of a wheelchair without proper training in body mechanics and procedures. As a volunteer, you should never move someone into or out of a wheelchair unless you first get staff's permission.

Social Services and Patient Dignity

Think of each person's room and bed as a private home. Don't stare into rooms and try to be quiet in the halls. Everyone has a right to have their space respected.

Rule #11 -- If a person's door is open, avoid staring inside the room. If you want to enter, knock first. If the door is open, say, "knock-knock." Don't sit on a bed without asking permission first. If you are bringing pets along, ask permission before entering. Sometimes your grandfriend or the roommate may be nervous around animals.

Rule #12 -- Report abuse to your teacher or nursing staff. If you hear someone swearing, yelling, or even grabbing and maybe hurting an older person, report this.

Rule #13 -- We are here to learn, so ask when you are unsure. Asking questions is better than asking for forgiveness later.

Rule #14 -- Watch how you talk. Generally, increase volume and decrease speed, but don't yell.

Verification--Return this Signed

[To be completed by the teacher and an adult of your choice]

To be filled in by your teacher:

(teacher's name printed)
have asked the student to review the rules with me. I believe the student fully understands the rules and techniques as outlined on these pages.


Comment (please let us know if you felt this was worth your time and why):

To be filled in by a Guardian, friend, or some other adult you respect:

(guardian/adult's name printed)
have asked the student to review the rules with me. I believe the student fully understands the rules and techniques as outlined on these pages.


Comment (please let us know if you felt this was worth your time and why):

Intergenerational Index   next page arrow

Martin Kimeldorf,
© 1999
All Rights Reserved.
Amby Duncan-Carr,
page designer
Material from both THE GRANDFRIENDS PROJECT, A Program Creating Friendships Across The Generations and the companion piece, PROJECT LEADER'S GUIDE FOR THE GRANDFRIENDS PROJECT, A Program Creating Friendships Across The Generations is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher, Fairview Press. Printing or downloading a single copy of this document for personal use is permitted; teachers may reproduce this document for use in a single classroom, only. Transmission in any form or further duplication is prohibited without the express written consent of the author. In addition, any use of the document code, itself, requires the written permission of the web page designer.

Kimeldorf Bibliography
Amby's Resources
Kimeldorf Autobiography

© 1999   Amby Duncan-Carr   All Rights Reserved.

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