A black-and-white photo of the Delaware River in New Hope, Pennsylvania, creates a spark of recognition for Mary, an Alzheimer’s patient who lived her entire life in the picturesque town. She begins to tell a story about a childhood swim.
Patricia Werther met Mary in October of 2013 when she was looking for a local volunteer opportunity. She stumbled across Crossroads Hospice through an online search. “I didn’t know much about hospice coming into it,” she says, “but it intrigued me.”
She began to visit Mary weekly, and when she saw a book on the history of New Hope and nearby Lambertville, she thought Mary would enjoy it. “I began to read it to her, and Mary started a conversation about her life, swimming in the river, working in the town shops, telling me all about living there.”
She’s been visiting Mary for more than six months now.
“Each visit is different. Sometimes she is very chatty. Sometimes we look at books and magazines or I bring in artwork. I follow her lead. When she’s quiet, I just sit with her and hold her hand,” Patricia shares.
“I’ve learned a lot about dementia and Alzheimer’s because of Mary, “ she continues. “I’ve researched it online. I’m fascinated to see how conversations go and how they communicate. They’re still people with stories to share, and I love being a part of that.”
Patricia is glad to be a part of Crossroads’ volunteer team. “They are doing amazing things for people who are often forgotten. It’s a very rewarding experience and I take it moment by moment. You just try to enjoy the person’s company, because they enjoy someone being there, paying attention to them.”
Patricia’s visits bring joy and happy memories to Mary’s life. You, too, can bring a smile to an Alzheimer’s patient in a 45-minute visit. To learn more, visit our Facebook page to connect with a Volunteer Manager near you.
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