Louise Abrahams Yaffe Award

Volunteer ombudsmen make a difference in the lives of people living in long term care facilities one visit at a time. Every year, the Volunteer Ombudsman program honors an individual who has demonstrated remarkable service to elders in long term care settings with the Louise Abrahams Yaffe Award.



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Laura Burgardt began volunteering as a Volunteer Ombudsman with the Board on Aging and Long Term Care in August 2014. Since that time, she has served at several different long term care facilities in the Milwaukee area. ­ Laura holds an AAS in Medical Assisting and a BS in Healthcare Administration. She currently works full-time as a Research Coordinator in Pediatric Cardiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. In addition to volunteering with the Board on Aging and Long Term Care, Laura is an active member of her community and volunteers for other causes. Laura has two college aged children, Jacob and Abby, and lives in Wauwatosa with her husband, Scott.

Laura's interest in serving as an advocate began early in life when her mother was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor. At just 22 years old, Laura became her mother's primary caregiver, including during her mother's time in nursing facilities. Laura served as an advocate for her mother's care after seeing what life is like for nursing home residents. Laura was further inspired to serve as an advocate when she took a class on Senior Care while completing her education. During this class, Laura learned of local non-profits serving seniors and the issues impacting older adults, which helped to further ignite her passion for advocacy work.

Even after 10 years of volunteering, Laura's dedication and commitment to her work remains strong. Her compassion and wit shines in every interaction with residents. Laura is quick to establish meaningful connections with others and has a talent for leaving people with a smile on their face. Laura has an excellent memory and recalls individual topics of conversation with residents, further establishing a deeper connection. Laura makes it her personal mission to visit residents during the holidays as she knows this can be an especially lonely time and that a friendly visitor can help. Laura says it best in her own words, “Sometimes the greatest gift you can give is to just listen and be there."

Laura goes above and beyond in her volunteer role to best serve residents. Laura is quick to make multiple visits per week when needed to maintain a supportive and consistent presence. Laura collaborates with both her Volunteer Coordinator and Regional Ombudsman to work toward a common goal of resident support.

The Board on Aging and Long Term Care is proud to name Laura Burgardt as the 2024 Louise Abrahams Yaffe Volunteer Ombudsman Award recipient for her outstanding commitment, dedication, and passion when it comes to serving the residents of our state. Congratulations, Laura!