Like many couples, Yvonne and Charles wake up each morning and have breakfast together. But Yvonne is making sure Charles eats enough and doesn’t mix his cereal and coffee. Throughout the day she gives him the medicine he’s been prescribed to delay the development of his dementia, putting each pill in his mouth to make sure it’s taken. On the days when social workers from Crossroads Hospice visit, she runs errands while they stay with him. When she returns, Yvonne helps him eat again, and keeps up the conversation, though his responses are often very difficult to understand.
She asks Charles, her husband of nearly 60 years, if he remembers her.
“I really wish I could be more involved than I am,” says Cleveland volunteer Tom Mathews. Tom began volunteering with Crossroads Hospice after retiring. “I don’t have to work anymore, so I can choose what I want to do,” he says fondly.
When asked to describe their role, many social workers will note the range of “hats” they wear to best serve patients and families. From identifying emotional and spiritual needs to supporting families as they navigate the Medicare system, the complexity of end-of-life care requires the skills of an expert educator, advocate, mediator and more.
Around the Armourdale Community Center in Kansas City, Mary Nally is a local legend. That’s where she spent decades mentoring young kids in athletics and character building. Many of Nally’s students came from under-served neighborhoods and found a safe haven playing for the teams she organized. On one special Saturday, it was clear that they never forgot what she did for them.
During World War II, Ann Meyers’ mother took advantage of a government program that allowed her to attend nursing school for free if she would enlist in the military after her training was complete.
By the time her schooling was finished, the war was at an end and the government exempted her from having to enlist. As a woman with a heart for service, she never forgot this and instead spent many hours in her life volunteering in her community.
She also raised her daughter Ann to look for ways to volunteer.
Moira Keller LCSW
Clinical Coordinator of Geriatric Social Work
Sixty Plus Older Adult Services at Piedmont Healthcare
Seventeen years ago, I arrived at Sixty Plus, new to Georgia and the southeast, after years of living abroad. I didn’t realize at the time that I had struck gold in terms of professional opportunity and meaningful work.