2015 Nominees Section
Position: Volunteer Coordinator
Organization: Independence at Home a Community Service of SCAN Health Plan
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Tricia Homrighausen has been a Volunteer Coordinator with the Volunteer Action for Aging Program since October 2013.
Why should this person be nominated
Tricia began her dedication to serving seniors as a Friendly Visitor volunteer at the Council on Aging Orange County. For five years, she provided support and friendship to a couple as the husband journeyed through the end stages of Alzheimer’s. Tricia expressed that witnessing their commitment to each other had a lasting impact upon her own life: “I discovered that in service to seniors, I received much more than I could ever give.”
While continuing her role as a Friendly Visitor, Tricia began service with AmeriCorps, the homeland version of Peace Corps. Tricia served for one year as a Helpline Assistant at the Alzheimer’s Association Orange County and later as Long Term Care Ombudsman, advocates for the residents of long term care facilities. In her work as an Ombudsman, Tricia experienced firsthand the importance of an advocate for those most in need. In 2009, Tricia accepted a position as Volunteer Coordinator for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program where she helped recruit, train, and support volunteers to advocate for seniors.
From 2011 to 2013, Tricia served as the Communications and Development Manager at the Council on Aging Orange County. In this role, Tricia used her story writing abilities to advocate for seniors, helping to secure funding at a time of dwindling budgets.
Today, Tricia serves as Volunteer Coordinator for Volunteer Action for Aging of Independence at Home, a Community Service of SCAN Health Plan. Her thoughtfulness and caring always shine through, no matter in what capacity she is working. Tireless in her pursuit of helping seniors feel engaged and celebrated, she created a volunteer group that encourages people 55+ plus to volunteer in their community. She named this group the “Givebackers". The GiveBackers work together, building friendships while giving back to their communities. One recent project was to partner with Community SeniorServ and the Brookhurst Senior Center to visit, dance, and help serve lunch and root beer floats to over 100 seniors. She has received such positive feedback from both the volunteers and the recipients, reflecting the happiness people feel when helping others.
Tricia also coordinates the Volunteer Action for Aging Friendly Visitor Program in Orange County – connecting lonely and isolated seniors with Friendly Visitors. In this capacity, Tricia has journeyed full circle as she was once a Friendly Visitor volunteer herself. Along with the rest of her Team, Tricia plays a key role in Independence at Home’s annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery which last year ensured that over 2,000 seniors were remembered on Thanksgiving morning.
Helping seniors tell their story is something Tricia remains passionate about. To this end, she now leads Guided Autobiography Classes – inspiring and encouraging seniors to capture and share the stories of their lives. Some participants comment they have not used their writing skills in many years. Once they write their story, they are empowered by realizing the impact their lives have made in the world. One recent participant said this about Guided Autobiography: “I had lost purpose, and this program saved my life. I discovered that in spite of my many losses, I can still write! I have a story to tell and now I am finally telling it.” The common thread throughout Tricia’s career is that she cares deeply for seniors and tirelessly works to enrich their lives. Reflecting on her work today, Tricia had this to say, “I am so thankful to be a part of a non-profit organization and a Team that consistently puts the needs of seniors first. We know it is an honor and a privilege to serve the senior population.”
To us, Tricia is a super hero.