What started as a yearly fundraising walk turned into a weekly volunteer commitment for Dorothy Kellner.
“I always went to the Walk for Alzheimer’s. A lady who was a volunteer companion, who I got to know, said ‘you should really be a volunteer companion.’ And I said ‘what’s that all about?’ So when I retired I went and took the course,” Dorothy explained.
She loves spending time with her match, a local woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
“We usually go for a drive, out in the country, because she was raised on a farm and I was too! We enjoy seeing the different seasons, the crops, animals, seeing the changes,” she said.
And though Dorothy is offering her match companionship and a regular outing, the volunteer position is fun for her, too.
“It’s really rewarding, I really enjoy it,” she said. “I feel like I get more out of it than I give.”
But Dorothy knows how much the Volunteer Companion Program means to family members who are caring for a loved one with dementia.
“It gives the caregiver time to go away. I often think, I spend two hours a week volunteering, and that’s just two hours of my time. But it’s the only two hours when the caregiver isn’t tied down,” she said.
For Dorothy, it’s rewarding to know that she’s giving someone the gift of time.
“It’s a way to give back, and something to do in retirement that means something.”