Volunteer Spotlight – Rick

Elaine Whitford Give_Receive_Care

If you’ve ever attended a networking event for professionals who work with older adults in the Triangle, you’ve most certainly met Rick Messemer. Since 2011, he’s been the community liaison for Carolina Estate Counsel, a law firm in Raleigh, and is a familiar face among professionals in the aging industry. Rick is not a lawyer, but he travels the area to share information important to people who are aging, such as the ins-and-outs of Medicare and Medicaid, long term care issues, estate planning, and much more.

Rick first learned about The Center for Volunteer Caregiving about eight years ago when he was looking for respite assistance for a family caregiver taking care of her mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease. He joined the Board of Directors for The Center for Volunteer Caregiving in 2020 and has served as the Board Chair (a.k.a. Chief Volunteer) since June 2021.

If you ask Rick where he works, he’ll tell you. But then he quickly follows up his answer with the question, “Do you want to know what my passion is?” That may be when you notice he wears two nametags – one for Carolina Estate Counsel and one for The Center for Volunteer Caregiving. Rick believes The Center’s work is crucial to the growing population of isolated older adults. And he works with a lot of families put in a financial crunch when faced with finding affordable care for their older members. Rick incorporates information about The Center into every seminar and networking event he attends, spending several hours each week spreading the word about The Center’s volunteer services and volunteer opportunities.

We asked Rick for one thing he wanted to say to The Center’s volunteers. He responded, “Thank you! Be it visiting, driving, or serving on the board, just one touch in a senior’s life can make a world of difference.” As a professional, Rick wants every adult 60+ to be prepared. He advises that they “assume and plan for the worst” with well-crafted Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives. He believes it’s important for every older adult to be aware of the high cost of home care and the even higher cost of specialty care, such as a memory care community (possibly as much as $10,000-$12,000 per month).

Rick grew up in Queens, NY, a few blocks from the 59th Street Bridge. After marriage, he and his wife, Marie, lived in Brooklyn. He and Marie will celebrate their 51st anniversary in May 2023. Rick and Marie moved to North Carolina to be closer to their two children and granddaughter, who is now driving and looking at colleges. Rick says that many people might be surprised to learn that he takes great joy in challenging people about their faith. He taught adult Bible study for many years.

In his spare time, Rick cares for the mini-flock of ducks that live in his backyard. (Be Rick’s friend on Facebook, and you’ll be treated to photos and stories about the ducks!) He and Marie enjoy day trips to spots in North Carolina that they learn about on the NC Weekend TV show or Our State magazine. They also chronicle these trips on Rick’s Facebook page.

Many, many thanks to Rick for his tireless efforts to spread the word about The Center for Volunteer Caregiving and support our volunteer programs!