Volunteer Spotlight – Kathleen

Elaine Whitford Give_Receive_Care

Kathleen has been volunteering with The Center since 2018. After she retired, Kathleen knew she had time to volunteer in the community and looked specifically for opportunities to help older adults. She found The Center online and liked the fact that it had been around for a long time and appeared to provide good support for its volunteers.

In her time as a volunteer with The Center, Kathleen worked in different programs. She started out as a volunteer driver and friendly visitor. After the 2020 COVID lockdown and her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, she started doing Telecare. She noted how good it was to have contact with people over lockdown, for both the care receivers and her.

Today Kathleen continues to provide Telecare for two ladies. She sets aside two hours each week to call and chat with both of her ladies. Kathleen noted that while the time isn’t set in stone and both she and her care receivers can change it if needed, she enjoys the consistency of having that time set aside each week.

Kathleen shared that it has amazed her “how much you have in common with people when you start talking to them.” She enjoys getting to hear about others’ lives and talking about their common interests. She notes that her only real responsibility is to “show up and be present.” She truly enjoys having an hour of “stopping, listening, and sharing.”

One of Kathleen’s care receivers, Sharon, whose she’s been with for almost three years, shared that she feels “so blessed” to talk with Kathleen each week. She said, “She always lifts my spirits. I’ve had a lot of major health issues in the past six months, and it’s just been really nice to talk with her.” When asked if she had any advice to share with volunteers, Kathleen said that it’s important to not over promise and really consider how much you can do. She admitted that it took her a while to learn that lesson, but she’s now established a routine that is beneficial to both her and her care receivers.