Coastline in New Bedford is looking for a few good volunteers to join the National Nursing Home Ombudsman Program. It's a program that works to resolve the concerns of residents of nursing and rest homes in Massachusetts, including Greater New Bedford.

The Ombudsman program was part of a statewide effort that began in the mid-1970s to improve the lives of nursing home residents in the Bay State. According to its director at Coastline, Annabella Dougherty, qualifications include enjoying being around older people, and listening to their concerns.

Dougherty and volunteer Amy DiPietro were guests this week on Townsquare Sunday.

Dougherty said the job became more difficult last year because of the pandemic, when contact with nursing home residents was limited to meetings over Zoom. Now, the program is looking to ramp up in-person visits once again, and is hoping to get more volunteers involved.

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Dougherty said applicants will be interviewed and trained. She said the job can be challenging, but for the right person it can be very fulfilling.

Amy DiPietro enjoys being around older people. In addition to her work as an Ombudsman volunteer, she's also the full-time director of the Dartmouth Council on Aging.

DiPiertro said she enjoys helping people, and nursing home staffers have generally been co-operative and have done their best to meet the needs of residents.

The interview with Annabella Dougherty and Amy DiPietro can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday morning on 1420 WBSM. The program highlights individuals and organizations striving to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at

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