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Older Americans Month Spotlights

Updated: Jul 11


Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). In 2022, ACL will be focusing on aging in place – how older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible. The 2022 theme is Age My Way, an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities. Read more


 

Ms. Pearl Wilson


Ms. Pearl Wilson has been involved in Family Lifeline's Visiting Volunteers program since 2019 and describes her relationship with her volunteer, Leslie, as beautiful and uplifting. The pair spends most of their time together talking and joking in-person and over the phone.


After suffering from multiple deaths in the family this past year, Ms. Pearl says that Leslie has been a major source of comfort and support. "When I'm going through a depression, Leslie makes me feel better," Ms. Pearl says. "I tell her about my life and she just stays there and listens."

Leslie has been visiting Ms. Pearl throughout the pandemic. "Since the first day I met Pearl we have shared a bond. Our friendship has continued to deepen over three years," she says. "Pearl demands nothing and appreciates the simplest acts. Just talking about our families, food we enjoy, her childhood memories, or current events is enough. I enjoy my visits with her and when I cannot visit, a short phone call to or from her assures me she is okay."


Leslie says that she will occasionally take Ms. Pearl a little gift and that Ms. Pearl might send her home with something yummy, like her fried chicken or her daughter’s corn. Ms. Pearl also sends beautiful cards on special occasions and sometimes just because. Ms. Pearl has been paired with other volunteers in the past but says that she feels most connected with Leslie. "Leslie has something about her. She is for real. I thank the good Lord for her." About Family Lifeline, Ms. Wilson says, "They really care about you. They reach out. It means so much to hear a kind word."


 

Ms. Betty Walker


My name is Betty Walker and I have been a participant in the Family Lifeline Visiting Volunteer program since 2009. My current volunteer is Enderson Renck. We were matched in early 2019. He is a nice young man and a delight to have in my life. Due to a leg injury, I often use my wheelchair to get around, so Enderson will sometimes call just to check on me and check about any errands I may need taken care.


One of my important criteria for my volunteer match was someone who could be themselves. Enderson has been and continues to be himself. We can talk about anything and he makes me laugh. He knows that I enjoy reading and will bring me books to read.


Family is another thing that is important to me and though I do not have any children of my own, I helped raise my sister’s children. I have had an opportunity to meet Enderson’s family and enjoyed getting to know his son. Enderson also knows that I enjoy sandwiches from Subway. We often laugh because though he will ask me what I want on my sandwich he always manages to leave out a few things not good for my health conditions.


The friendship between Enderson and I, and even prior Family Lifeline matches, have been so important. They are examples of lifelong connections created through mutual respect and concern for each other.


 

Ms. Alice Bates


I joined a singing group which was unique because we could go and hear live music without participating. Anyone, however, could join in – singing or playing an instrument. Our pianist could look at a sheet of music and immediately play the song.


I always refused to sing. Then during Christmas, 2017, they asked me to sing “Jingle Bells.” Well, I thought that is so easy I think I’ll try it. I did and when I finished the song, everyone applauded. I was in my 60sand it was the first time anyone had asked me to sing a solo. It was a good feeling!


We were required to bring sheet music to each meeting. I selected, “My Country Tis of Thee” and practiced it many times. I finally gained the courage to sing it. The group applauded and said, “Good job.” As we prepared for our performance, this became the song that I practiced with the group each week. Finally, we were scheduled to perform at a home for Senior Citizens. We were all anxious and excited about being on stage. At the end of our performance, people came up to us and shared how much they enjoyed us.


After that, I chose many songs including “Barbara Ann,” “The Unicorn Song,” “You Don’t Know What It’s Like,” and “All You Need is Love.” Most of us were average singers with only a few very talented singers. But that is okay! You can have the experience of singing a solo regardless of whether you are an average or great singer.


In March of 2020, due to COVID we stopped our in-person group meetings. We have, however, continued to talk weekly by Zoom. The group plans to resume in person meetings in the future.

 

To learn more about our Visiting Volunteers program or to get involved, contact hward@familylifeline.org

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