Eric Ehst, Executive Director
Here we are, right between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, those holidays that are supposed to celebrate the contributions of our hard-working mothers and fathers, but are now mostly excuses for shopping, dining out, and Hallmark cards. At Neighbors Who Care we know a lot about mothers and fathers. Our volunteers help care for hundreds of them who are frail, aging and, in many cases, have nowhere else to turn for help. They’ve raised families, fought wars, built businesses and lived amazing lives. Now they’re struggling to continue living independently as they cope with disabilities, health problems and the general infirmities and iniquities of getting old. The children that they lovingly nurtured have long ago grown up and are either too far away or are otherwise unable to give them the help they now need.
We hear from a lot of the kids and grandkids. Most of the cards and letters go something like this, “Thank you so much for the help you’ve given my mom/dad. It gives me peace of mind to know that someone is there to aid them when I am so far away. Thank you for helping them to keep living the life they love in their own home.”
For many of these moms and dads our volunteers provide the lifeline that keeps them from having to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility (which they often can’t afford) or from having to move in with their kids in cramped quarters, in a strange city, away from their friends and familiar surroundings. Many times couples who have lived together for 50 years or more have to be placed in separate facilities and lose the companionship of their lifetime partner. The volunteers not only help them remain in their homes near spouses and friends, they become like a surrogate family, enjoying visits and outings, sharing stories, learning from the clients. The volunteers regularly report that they get as much pleasure and satisfaction out of the relationship as the clients they assist.
This year celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day by giving back to the mothers and fathers who are all around us. Just today, as I write this, NWC volunteers are providing help to moms and dads like Albert, Gail, Joan, Elena, Frances, Louise, Michele, Ron, Ruth, Cora and many others. We work very hard to help everyone who needs it, but it takes a lot of volunteers. It’s really tough to tell an 85 year old great-grandmother that no one is available to take her to her chemotherapy appointment. You could make that difference in someone’s life.
If you have a little time (and a lot of heart) and would like to experience the deep personal satisfaction that comes from volunteering to assist your neighbors, contact us at 480-895-7133; www.neighborswhocare.com.