A time for love and remembrance
Bonnie Kosar, Case Manager
For many people February means Valentine’s Day, a time to celebrate love and enjoy the company of that special someone who means the most to you. For many of our neighbors, including a majority of the clients served by Neighbors Who Care, this is a bittersweet day, with memories of a loved one they have lost. Many of our clients moved here in the heady early days of retirement. With their spouse they enjoyed time together and the many activities in our community. Now they find themselves living alone and sometimes unable to drive or having limited mobility. NWC volunteers assist these people with a variety of different programs. It’s well known that we provide them with tangible things like transportation, food and minor home repairs. Just as important are our programs, including visiting and recreational therapy, that assist them with their social and psychological needs. The visiting program pairs up clients who live alone with compatible volunteers to help with loneliness, allow for socialization and provide an opportunity to share emotions and memories. Also this past December NWC partnered with Intel, the CAP team of the local fire department, the Sun Lakes Breakfast Lions Club and the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program of Home Instead to deliver holiday gifts to 45 solitary clients in the hopes of letting them know that someone cares. In return we received many notes like the one below:
“You do so much for me all year and then to receive that Christmas package with all the goodies and nice gifts; what can I say? There are not words to express how much I appreciate you all and all that you do. Thank you.”
We also have an increasing number of clients who are suffering from memory impairment. Their caregivers are often facing the loss of shared memories and companionship even while their loved one is still physically present. Our volunteers offer support to caregivers, including respite so they can get a much needed break from their caregiving duties. We also host a weekly caregiver support group so that they are never alone on this journey of love. In December we hosted a caregiver holiday party sponsored by Intel which allowed for the caregivers to feel cared for. February is a time of love, but love comes in many forms; one such form is the gift of presence or time. Our caring volunteers give their time and presence to our clients.
Our less fortunate neighbors need us and we need your help. As always, if you know of someone who needs our help or if you 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).