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Standing up for seniors in the Finger Lakes region

Catherine Kiehle always felt at home with older folks. Now she is one of them. A mother of two and grandmother of three — and empty-nester for some time now, living with her husband and dog in Romulus — she continues to fill her life with people of the “older set.”

“I have always been drawn to the elderly,” said Kiehle, a volunteer with the Ombudsman program of Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc. The program is an advocate and resource for people living in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living and adult care facilities.

“Now I feel like I am advocating for my peers,” said Kiehle. The retired social worker is now ombudsman for residents in Ontario County. She is one of 70 volunteers looking out for the welfare of about 12,000 residents throughout the nine counties the program serves. Lifespan needs more ombudsmen, especially in Ontario and Wayne counties where the program hopes to gain a number of new volunteers through a training session this spring.

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