HOUSTON There are volunteers, and then there are people like D.L. Poe.

At age 80, Poe a retired great-grandfather walks the halls of San Jacinto Nursing Home in Deer Park, greeting residents and just listening to what they have to say.

He s done it for 20 years, through UT Health s long-term care ombudsman program.

Well, it s very gratifying for me, helping these folks get through this chapter of their life, this dilemma of dependency, Poe said.

He talks to the residents every day about everyday things, like their food and their care.

If we deal with concerns, they never become issues, because once they become issues, they become complaints, and when they become complaints, then nobody wins, Poe said.

Unfortunately, there aren t enough folks like Poe in the program. There are 86 nursing facilities in Harris County, but only 87 volunteers.

Poe is urging other retirees to sign up, because retirees usually have more time and that time can be used to act as the eyes, ears and voice of those living the final chapter of life.

If you would like to know what it takes to become a volunteer, click here.

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