As a busy summer winds down, you may have more time on your hands. Why not use it to help others?

Both Nassau and Suffolk counties have senior ombudsman programs with volunteers who are sent to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to act as patient advocates.

The ombudsman talks with patients and investigates their complaints. Many of the patients have no friends or family members to listen to or help them.

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After training, volunteers devote one day a week of their time and are sent to a facility near them.

To volunteer in Nassau, call Family and Children's Association at 516-466-9718. In Suffolk, call the Family Service League at 631-470-6756.