December 22, 2009
I signed up for The Friendly Visiting Program a short while after my mother passed away. I had gone to see my mom everyday for the last 5+ years of her life at a midtown Nursing Home. I wanted to volunteer because I had seen first hand what spending time with a senior can do for their mental health and well being. I had felt how great it made me feel to be able to put a smile on someone’s face just by coming to see them and spending quality time with them. I learned how laughter was the best medicine a person could have no matter what their illness. I saw many parents in the nursing home that would wait by the elevator doors hoping that each time the elevator would come that maybe, just maybe it would be somebody coming to see them. More often than not, I saw the disappointment each and everyday on many of these faces that had become like family to me. When I was matched with a senior I was told that it would be a tough challenge for me but the coordinator said I was the one for the job. She was 95 years old and she was blind and deaf only able to hear from her right side hearing aide. She lived at home with a part time aide. Her children lived out of state and had tried many times to have her move closer to them but her mind was as sharp as a tack and wanted to stay in Manhattan. I spent every Saturday afternoon with my new friend for 2 years until the day she passed which happened to be 20 minutes before I arrived for my visit. She was like the grandmother I never had as an adult. She was very involved in any decision that I made in my own personal life and we both shared a passion about New York City in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s We talked for 6 hours straight. She enjoyed the mental stimulation. Her son said that I helped keep her alive and that I made the last two years of her life that much more enjoyable. I looked forward to seeing her every week and would often surprise her during the week if my work schedule permitted. She got me to cook at home for myself, she taught me a great deal about saving money. Our relationship was certainly 50/50. In the end I can honestly say that we needed each other. I know that she is up in Heaven now with her husband and that she is busy telling my mother all about our time together. I am taking a couple of moths off to grieve the loss of my friend and hope to get back and find a new person to help. We will all grow old if god allows and we all need a friend especially when we are older. I think City Meals on Wheels is a wonderful organization that keeps people alive and gives them a reason to live. I feel truly blessed to be a small part of such a wonderful organization!
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
I got back muc more than I gave seeing how much I was able to make someone's life better.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
MY ROLE:Volunteer & Friendly Visiting.