As a volunteer for the Council on Aging (CoA), Diane wears multiple hats. She distributes our bi-annual resource guide, Directions, updates its listings, and serves as a Caring Connection caller. Recently, we sat down with Diane to find out why she chose to volunteer for the CoA.
Why did you decide to volunteer for the Council on Aging?
I value being of service to others. Also, since I’m a senior, other seniors can relate to me, and I can relate to them.
What about the organization drew you in?
The volunteer manager. The volunteer program is enthusiastic about finding a volunteer role that is a good fit. The Council on Aging does an exceptional job doing that.
What’s it like working with your fellow volunteers?
In our COVID environment, we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to be together. There are monthly meetings where volunteer successes and challenges are discussed. We’ve become more comfortable communicating in the virtual environment. The number of online educational opportunities has increased dramatically. When you meet people and share a common interest, you can help one another.
Is the experience helping you grow as a person?
Yes. I’m 72 years old. I’m aware that I might be the person that needs help in my life. Seeing what resources are available in the community could have a huge impact on my life. The seniors I’ve worked with have added a lot to my life. The laughter, for example.
What would you say to someone considering volunteering for the Council on Aging?
I would say that CoA values its volunteers as an essential part of the program. There’s a place for you. There’s a support system. You’re not out there alone.
What’s the most important thing the Council on Aging volunteers can do for our seniors?
That depends on what the individual wants to do because there is a wide range of needs. Someone might need help figuring out the best options for Medicare. Council on Aging Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) volunteer Medicare counselors provide assistance and talk to people about their choices.
Meals on Wheels provides food, which is a basic need for all of us. It also provides the recipient with a contact. Someone to make sure they’re safe. Caring Connections helps people know that other people out there care about them. For example, it’s for homebound seniors who can no longer go to the senior center. Volunteers help update Directions. And the Council on Aging helps seniors remain independent safely.
Do you sense that those you serve appreciate what volunteers like you do?
Absolutely they do. And I appreciate the opportunity to help other people. We all benefit.
How does volunteering for the Council on Aging make you feel?
I feel it helps me have a clear purpose in my life. It’s satisfying I can be of assistance to someone. I like helping other people.
Do you wish you had been able to volunteer sooner?
I have volunteered for many years in many different capacities. My focus is changing as I age. I’m grateful the CoA allows me to serve a different demographic. It’s the only organization I could volunteer for during COVID and volunteer with little in-person interaction.
Thank you, Diane, for all you do for the Council on Aging and others.