Volunteering: A Little Goes a Long Way
Paul Feeney, Neighbors Who Care Volunteer
I expect most people reading this article know that Neighbors Who Care is an organization that enables elderly people needing some help to lead a better life. It is easy to imagine an example of a widow or widower who is no longer able to safely drive, and how they would appreciate someone taking them to the doctor or the grocery store. The same goes for having someone bring over a meal or reach out to talk and break up a lonely day. Many people want to stay in their homes as they age, and Neighbors Who Care volunteers provide assistance that makes that easier. I hope you see that this is valuable.
But what does it mean to be a volunteer? In all honesty, many of us have a few hours a week or a month to give. What better way to use this time than to help others? In my experience, volunteering helps fill up the day with something important. When I first joined Neighbors Who Care as a volunteer a few years ago, I learned first-hand how meaningful volunteering is. What surprised me, though, was that it turned out to be much more fulfilling than I imagined. I started mostly giving clients rides. What I found was that they all seemed to have an interesting story about their life, and I enjoyed listening to them. They also seemed to enjoy having someone to hang out with, too! As a volunteer, I felt good about providing more than just the physical ride.
I soon started asking each client if they needed help with anything else. Here are some examples of how I’ve been able to assist clients in small ways:
* Changing a furnace filter that looked like it hadn’t been changed in years;
* Realigning a closet door that had fallen off its track, prohibiting a lady from getting to her things;
* Tightening a couple of screws on a mailbox name plate that had fallen down;
* Changing a smoke detector battery that had been beeping and keeping a sweet client from getting a good night’s sleep for days;
* Resetting a clock with large numbers for a lady with sight impairment. The numbers on the clock were large, but the instructions on how to reset the clock were in tiny letters!
These are just a few examples, but I’ll tell you that each time I help someone with something so simple, I feel the appreciation from our clients, and I walk away with a huge smile on my face. Can you see how these things are great for both the client and the volunteer?
Given what I have shared, can you now see yourself becoming either a client or a volunteer? I hope so! If you want to feel really good about helping out a senior in need, please go to www.neighborswhocare.com and click on the Volunteer tab or call the office at 480-895-7133. I think you will be glad that you did!
Registration Is Open for Neighbors Who Care’s First-Ever Fall Conference
Sheryl Keeme, Executive Director
Details are still underway for Neighbors Who Care’s first-ever fall conference. An informative, helpful, and lively take on Aging Well with three expert, dynamic presenters.
Hint: Expect laughs before you go!
Who: Anyone who wants to be better prepared for an extraordinary Aging Future (for you or your parents). Seating is limited.
What: An informative, helpful, and lively take on Aging Well with expert presenters. Join Honorary Chair Chandler Councilwoman Christine Ellis for this informative and entertaining morning.
Representatives from a variety of senior service businesses and agencies will be on hand to provide resources to help you properly prepare for the golden years. Trust us, it is so much easier to learn what’s available ahead of time than to have to figure things out in a moment’s notice. A light breakfast and snacks will be provided.
When: Saturday, Nov. 13. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. Conference ends at 1 p.m.
Where: Tumbleweed Recreation Center at 745 E. Germann Rd, Chandler, AZ
Cost: Free for all attendees
Meet our speakers:
Elaine Poker-Yount, Visiting Angels, Successful Aging, Arizona Republic Columnist
10 Things Nobody Tells You When You Age—Whether you are the one who is aging or you are caring for a spouse, sibling, or best friend, Elaine will enlighten you with a virtual roadmap of the key information you need to get your proverbial “ducks in a row.” She will outline the critical eldercare practices to engage, provide crucial decision-making indicators, clarify common misconceptions, and simply equip you with information and resources so you can reduce the stress of aging and illness through awareness and sound decision-making.
Brian Brown, Dementia Care Management
Understanding and Preparing for the Dynamics of Aging—Are you prepared to age well? Our body and brain go through a lot of changes throughout our lives, the most significant changes happen as we reach certain aging milestones. Is it possible to better understand aging and be more prepared?
Join us and gain an understanding of the essentials of aging and practical opportunities for a successful future, for ourselves and our aging parents.
Mark Cordes, Comedian
Registration: Search “Aging Made Easier” on Eventbrite.com or call 480-895-7133 ext. 170.
“Aging Made Easier: What you need to know, before you need to know it!”
Save the Date: September 30, Dementia Friends Training
People living with dementia need to be supported in the communities they live in. You can help by becoming a Dementia Friend.
Dementia is not a specific disease. It is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Neighbors Who Care is part of a movement to establish Sun Lakes as a Dementia Friendly community. Dementia Friends was developed in the UK to help communities of people understand five key messages about dementia, how it affects people, and how we each can make a difference in the lives of people living with memory loss.
Join Neighbors Who Care by learning more about Dementia Friends at an upcoming information session. The next one is being held on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. at Neighbors Who Care offices, 10450 E. Riggs Road, Suite 113, Sun Lakes. The session lasts one hour and explains the five key messages and helps attendees understand Dementia Friends and what it means to be one. The goal is to help community members understand dementia, become less intimidated by interacting with people living with it, and learn small ways they can make a difference for people living with dementia.
To sign up, email Sheryl Keeme, Neighbors Who Care executive director, at [email protected] or call 480-895-7133, ext. 170.
September Class Information
East Valley Memory Café is sponsoring a few classes this month. These are all free and open to the public. We hope you will consider joining us.
“When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient” class:
Thursday, Sept. 2, at 11:30 a.m. in-person at The Perfect Place, 23914 S. Alma School Road, on the back side (west side) of Risen Savior Lutheran Church original building. RSVP to [email protected].
Thursday, Sept. 9, at noon, online on Zoom
RSVP to [email protected]. We’ll email you the link. If you have any questions, call 480-203-8548.
As a loving wife, husband, daughter, or son, we often don’t think of ourselves as caregivers—especially if our loved one doesn’t have a specific diagnosis. Or maybe we live far away and don’t realize the needs that aren’t being met. We’re family! And family takes care of family. But when the unexpected happens—and it does, it’s quite common to find there is no one to fill our shoes—our duties and all the unspoken things we take care of without even realizing how committed we are to our loved one. You need a back-up plan. Join us to get your ducks in a row. We’ll provide a checklist of items to navigate, and discuss options for difficult situations and making sure both you and your loved one are both well taken care of and safe.
“Become a Dementia Friend”
Thursday, Sept. 30, 1 p.m. at the Neighbors Who Care office, 10450 E. Riggs Road, Suite 113
RSVP to [email protected]. If you have any questions, call 480-203-8548.
Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Attend a one-hour information session to learn what dementia is, what it’s like to live with the disease, the most common types of dementia, and tips for communicating with people who have dementia. Everyone who attends is asked to turn their understanding of dementia into action—either big or small—to help fellow community members living with dementia.