One more good reason to retire in Florida!

It seems one non-profit has figured out a highly effective way to care for uninsured or underinsured Americans over the age of 50. Senior Friendship Centers of Southwest Florida has been providing healthcare for older adults since 1973 and has even become a national model for developing innovative and cost-effective approaches to address the health and wellness needs of those 50 years and older.

Volunteers serve in nearly every aspect of the Senior Friendship Centers, which has a network of health service facilities called Centers for Healthy Aging. Volunteer physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other medical personnel provide care through an umbrella of programs including health and wellness and supportive aging services.

The program also enables those retiring from the medical field to stay current and active in their profession for the reason they started in the first place – to help other people.

By volunteering their time and expertise they uphold the organization’s motto of “People Helping People” and help offset skyrocketing healthcare costs. Estimated numbers from when the organization was founded in 1973 through May 2010 show volunteers have contributed time valued at nearly $25 million. And last year alone, 1,500 volunteers contributed more than 132,000 hours of service with an in-kind value of nearly $2.5 million.

Recently, the volunteers for the Senior Friendship Center in Collier County were honored as part of the Diamond Volunteer Program, which was founded by a local real estate agent to honor hard-working volunteers. Friendship’s Collier County site was recognized for amassing more than 7,000 hours of volunteer service each year.

There are more than 70 retired physicians, representing 15 specialties, who volunteer in Friendship’s Centers for Healthy Aging clinics. Additionally, there are more than 30 dentists, 8 dental hygienists, 3 pharmacists, 25 nurses and 15 clinic aides. Despite all this, there is still a waiting list that forces some patients to wait up to three months for care so more volunteers are always welcome.

Medical personnel living in Southwest Florida interested in giving their time and knowledge in the healthcare field can click here to learn more about what is needed in their area. Senior Friendship Centers also serve Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Lee counties. Help is especially needed in the summer and fall months when many current volunteers return north.

We at Hospital Dream Jobs applaud this great healthcare organization and look forward to its continuing influence on other organizations around the country endeavoring to provide care to uninsured and underinsured seniors. And we encourage all of you healthcare professionals to get out there and volunteer your time to a worthy organization in your neck of the woods!