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 2023, 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 decided to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association because of my personal connection with Alzheimer’s. My family has been ravaged with Alzheimer’s. I have lost two aunts and a cousin to Alzheimer’s. I also had an uncle who was diagnosed a couple of years before he passed a year and a half ago.
The most important reason for my involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association is my mom who passed two years ago from dementia. She was diagnosed in 2013 with vascular dementia, but was reevaluated in 2016 with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I am an only child who was the primary care partner for my mom during the last eight and a half years of her life. My mom moved from Winston-Salem to live with me in Durham in 2012 prior to her dementia diagnosis. She stayed with me until 2016 when I moved her to Memory Care because her care got to be too much for me to handle at my house. Although I had aides come in to assist with her care, the toll to care for my mom got to be too much for them as well, since my mom had limited mobility and had to be assisted with most of her activities of daily living as her condition worsened. She spent the remaining years of her life in Memory Care until she passed.
I have talked with and heard stories from many former care partners of people who passed from Alzheimer’s who have shared that their caregiving experience has led to a calling to help alleviate the burden caused by Alzheimer’s. I have found through my caregiving experience, that I share that passion and purpose to do whatever I can to find a way to help end this dreaded disease that not only dramatically affects the person living with the disease, but those who take on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones.
What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
I have participated and fundraised for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the Raleigh/Durham area since 2016, and I am an advocate for the Congressional Team serving the NC 4th District. In 2020, I was interviewed twice about the challenges people caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or other Dementias face during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those interviews was for a story that appeared in USA Today.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
I have enjoyed my experience being an advocate. I never thought I would be talking to Congressional Members or State Legislators and their staff trying to influence them to pass legislation that would benefit others, but here I am sharing my story in front of people who have the ability to make a difference. Another benefit in advocating to lawmakers is learning more about the behind the scenes process it takes to get legislation passed.
What piece of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
I am encouraged when someone thanks me for sharing my story. I participated in the North Carolina State Advocacy Day this year and received encouraging feedback from State Legislators or their staff after I shared my experience as a care partner for my mom. I also feel that is important for me as a black male to share my story to let others who look like me know there is someone who is advocating for them and to know they are not alone in this journey.
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
For someone who has been impacted by Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it is important for them to share their story. You never know how your story will impact someone else who is going through a similar situation.
THANK YOU, CHARLES
Volunteers truly help move our mission forward. Interested in becoming a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association in NC?
Visit alz.org/volunteer or call 800-272-3900.
One thought on “CHARLES CLIFTON – National Volunteer Week 2023 Spotlight”
I appreciate Charles’s message and his willingness to share how he cared for his mother with assistance until he had to leave her in a Memory Care Center.
As a Black man ,it’s commendable that he shared and advocated for others who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease .
Charles, thanks for all you do and have done to help secure funding and support for this important cause.