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A Caree Volunteer Program

become-a-volunteer-purple-md@g-j sent me an email last week full of good ideas, including the Who We Are book. She also wondered:

“I think one of the many problems with the alz/dementia diagnosis is that it is very demoralizing.  People feel like they have nothing to offer any more, but they do!!!?”

So, we had a phone call on Wednesday to discuss her ideas (you’ll hear more of her ideas in the next week or so). When we began to talk about her thoughts about persons with Alzheimer’s, the light went on for me.

In 1990, I managed a Volunteer Friendly Visitor program, matching volunteers with homebound seniors. I had two seniors, in particular, in great need of company. Gloria had been disabled for several years and resided with her daughter. Her life consisted mostly of one room (her bedroom), her television and her phone. Oh, she loved her phone! The other, Bernice, had recently moved in with her daughter when her chronic illness became too much for her to manage on her own. Both Gloria and Bernice felt uncomfortable living in someone else’s home and felt it very important to have a social life outside their families. This was the one way they could feel still independent.

But, I had a difficult time finding volunteers for them. Gloria would call me regularly to find out if I had found a volunteer for her. Finding volunteers these days is a struggle, I finally said. To which she immediately replied: Hey, my phone works! Why can’t I volunteer to be a visitor, except I won’t make home visits, I’ll just make phone calls.

How could I argue with that?

So, Gloria became a volunteer to Bernice. Or, was it vice versa? After several phone calls, the two became great friends–and felt great to be able to help each other. Gloria was very proud to be a volunteer in the program. The impact on her self-confidence is still something I remember today.

So, let’s do something similar! I’ve created a Caree Volunteer Program, with carees volunteering to provide socialization through phone calls to other carees. If your caree would make a great volunteer, then talk with your caree about becoming a volunteer. As a volunteer, your caree can determine how often to make phone calls to other carees in need of phone volunteer. Then please post information about your caree in our forum in Caree Volunteer Program group.

If your caree would like to receive phone calls from a caree volunteer, please share information about your caree in our forum in our Caree Volunteer Program. Then, look through the group to find a caree who would be a good match.

I imagine buttons and t-shirts will be available in the future for carees involved in the program. I’ll keep you posted.

Please feel free to use our Caree Volunteer Program group to share more ideas about connecting your carees to volunteer opportunities and finding volunteers to help your caree.

About Denise Brown

Avatar of Denise
I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues.

One comment

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    @g-j, my Mom is struggling with hearing at her volunteer tutoring program where she has helped foreign students learn English for over 30 years. She may soon be forced to live alone in our upcoming new apartment. (Not yet found!:) )
    This idea is a sensational one, @g-j! I shall keep you in mind! I may need to bounce my head off the walls one day too on the phone! :)

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