As a nurse practitioner who specializes in geriatrics for CMC Primary Care, Melissa Herrington, AGNP-C not only takes care of her aging patients’ medical needs she also works hard to help them maximize the functioning of their mind, body, and spirit so they can enjoy the highest quality of life as they age. That’s why she regularly recommends volunteering for her older patients.
“Staying healthy as you get older isn’t just about going to your physician regularly, and taking all of your meds, and getting all your screenings,” said Herrington. “Participating in meaningful activities works your mind, gets you up and moving, and benefits your mental health. I truly believe that volunteerism can have a significant impact on the health of my senior patients.”
Melissa is definitely onto something. There are many studies that show that older adults who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression. Plus those over the age of 50 who volunteer on a regular basis are less likely to develop high blood pressure.
“Throughout my years in primary care, I’ve seen how volunteering and having a purpose has positively impacted some of my senior patients,” said Herrington. “It’s not uncommon for retirees and older folks to find themselves in a more sedentary lifestyle. That has adverse effects on the mind and the body. Volunteering is something I can recommend to get them out of the recliner and moving. Later on, many will report back and tell me that they felt their health was better – that these activities are having a positive impact on them both physically and mentally.”
Some of the potential health benefits from volunteering are:
- Reduce effects of stress, anger, and anxiety
- Combat depression
- Increase self-confidence
- Provide a sense of purpose
- Increase physical activity
- Lessen symptoms of chronic pain
- Increase heart health
- Lower mortality rates
- Reverse declining brain function
Conway Medical Center is in a unique position to see the benefits of volunteerism as hundreds of people have donated their time and expertise within our walls. Many are retirees who bring with them skill sets that they can put to use here in our many departments.
Other assignments outside their areas of experience give them the opportunity to try something they’ve never done before and offer them a chance to stay mentally sharp. Volunteers who make deliveries or escort patients and visitors on our campus have the added physical benefit of logging thousands of steps.
The social aspects of working and helping others at CMC can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. You’ll have the opportunity to make meaningful connections amongst our volunteers, employees, and patients. Become a part of the CMC family, and add more zest to your life.
Melissa Herrington, AGNP-C
Melissa Herrington AGNP-C is an adult and geriatric nurse practitioner with over 20 years of experience in nursing. Her passion for adult and geriatric care with its complexities and unique needs drives the care she provides her patients. Every stage of life presents new challenges and opportunities for living your best life. Melissa focuses on prevention and keeping you healthy and active, whether you are 18 or 80. Melissa received her Master of Science from Walden University and is a Certified Adult and Geriatric nurse practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
To schedule an appointment with Melissa Herrington, AGNP-C, call 843-347-8000.