Congratulations to Morgan Dewalt for her volunteer service as our Medicare counselor’s receptionist. Our Medicare counselors are part of the Oregon Senior Health Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA) and are highly trained volunteers that help seniors navigate the complexities of Medicare, including enrolling at 65, annual open enrollment updates and fraud issues.
Morgan, why did you decide to volunteer for the Council on Aging?
During the COVID pandemic, I had extra time and wanted to help seniors. I was excited that Marianne, the Council on Aging’s volunteer manager, had an opening for a volunteer.
What about the organization drew you in?
I moved to Bend in 2017 and started working as a caregiver for seniors. Helping others sparked something inside of me. So, when I was looking for something to do, I found the Council on Aging. The organization aligns with everything I am passionate about.
What’s it like working with your fellow volunteers?
It’s a unique experience because I know Chris, and because of COVID, we work via email or texting. Though I’ve never met the Medicare counselors in person, I really enjoy everyone I work with.
Is the experience helping you grow as a person?
I think it’s always a growing experience when you put others first. Plus, I’ve learned so much about Medicare. I also work as an office manager at an outpatient program for drugs and alcohol. We don’t accept Medicare. So, now I can connect them to a Council on Aging Medicare counselor that may be able to point that person to a program that accepts Medicare insurance.
What’s the most important thing Council on Aging volunteers can do for our seniors?
There’s a need in the community to connect seniors with the services they need. Not all older adults have a lot of support. Without Council on Aging, it might be hard for some seniors to get the right information.
Do you sense that those served appreciate Council on Aging volunteers?
I hear voicemails from people say our Medicare counselors help them. Medicare can be confusing so they’re grateful to talk with someone knowledgeable.
How does volunteering for the Council on Aging make you feel?
I am grateful for this position and what the Council on Aging is doing for our community. I’m just happy to be part of the team.