Sunday, November 27, 2011

Volunteer Caregivers

I’m getting ready to give a talk to a group of people who are volunteer caregivers. The organization is CareLinks and they serve Clifton Park and Saratoga County in upstate New York. The volunteers help their sick or older neighbors by giving rides, cooking, shopping and doing errands. The simple, basic, almost invisible stuff of daily life that can bring a family caregiver to their knees when they can’t do it.

I spent so many years caring for ill and dying family members that I know the gift of a friend who will grocery shop or drive to a doctor’s appointment or the one that saved my butt years ago when I was caring for two sick brothers: pick up my dry cleaning. Yes, it was that simple and singular but it saved my sanity—and probably my job.

There are now many organizations across the county that recruit, train and assign volunteer caregivers. Many come under the umbrella of “Faith in Action” groups. They are not necessarily people who are active church goers or parts of a traditional faith community but they live faith in humanity and they demonstrate their faith by giving back. In our Greater Capital Region in New York, CareLinks and Community Caregivers are two organizations that do a fabulous job of making the caregiving experience a great one for the volunteer and the family on the receiving end.

Service is gratitude in action. I am so grateful.

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