We are endlessly grateful to our volunteers for giving their time to better the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Our volunteers are truly the heart of the Alzheimer’s Association here in North Carolina.
In honor of National Volunteer Week 2021, we’ll be spotlighting a different volunteer from our Chapter each day. Today we are featuring…
What brought you to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association?
I remember as an early teen my grandmother had dementia and would wander off. My brother and I would have to go looking for her. I always feared she could be injured and wondered what resources were available for those simply categorized as “senile.” This and other family health issues prompted my desire to enter into a lifelong mission in healthcare and service to others. After relocating to North Carolina, I began working at Gracious Living Adult Day and Health Center, where many of the participants were in various stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. When I was asked to join an Alzheimer’s Walk with a friend and Alzheimer’s volunteer, Juanita Wade, I felt this would be the opportunity to learn more and provide better care for participants affected by the disease. It also would help caregivers who were struggling emotionally with the care of their loved ones. Juanita took the time to share more information which further increased my motivation to volunteer.
What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
Bringing people together and helping them to realize they are not alone. Even more so, seeing existing caregivers who have benefited from the Alzheimer’s Association resources, give new caregivers support, compassion, and tips. My work as a volunteer group facilitator has also provided me the opportunity to promote diversity, as this disease helps people of all ages, races, and cultures see each other on common ground. These new relationships and communications of diverse backgrounds have formed which propels the Alzheimer’s Association mission even further. Above all, to hear caregivers say they don’t know what they would have done without the group is a true testament. [Read how the Association is strengthening diversity and inclusion.]
What piece of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
Providing education and the 24/7 resources of Alzheimer’s Association to the community. Bringing caregivers together to provide their expert experience and journey to others and seeing their appreciation is most heartwarming. It is a perfect way to spread the word about the Alzheimer’s Association mission and pay it forward!
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
Right now, is the perfect time to make a difference in your life and others by helping to fight this disease. It empowers you and others and the payback is most rewarding.