Caring for Your Parents: Senior Companions
ANCHORAGE - Helping an aging parent to stay independent is something many adult children try to do for their elders.
That’s where a program called ”Senior Companions” can help. The federally funded program uses volunteers to help homebound seniors stay active. Pat Weatherby is one of those volunteers who visits five senior ladies on a regular basis.
On a weekday morning Pat greets Helen Strusz at her Midtown apartment. At 93 years old, and with poor vision, Strusz needs help doing a variety of things. Even though an adult daughter lives in town, Strusz values her independence as well as her regular visits from Weatherby,
On this particular day Strusz has asked for help preparing ingredients for a recipe that she’s had difficulty reading. Weatherby has also volunteered to read some hand-written Christmas cards out loud. On another day she may drive Strusz to a doctor’s appointment or to the grocery store.
Weatherby is a senior companion to five ladies in total, all of them homebound seniors who she visits, usually twice a week. Weatherby and “her ladies,” as she calls them, are all active and almost all are anxious to leave their homes for errands or other appointments.
But many senior companions don’t drive, and sometimes the seniors they serve are more interested in simply having company. In that case a “companion” might spend time with the senior, playing cards or other activities that they enjoy.
It doesn’t take much to be a senior companion. You need to be at least 55 years old, enjoy people and, as the program states, have a desire “to be a friend.” The program is always looking for volunteers as well as new clients they can help, and all of their services are completely free.
If you’d like more information you can check out this website: www.akcommunityservices.org.
For more information on Caring for Your Parents, text KTVAAGING to 28201.