For Boulder County Seniors, Volunteers Are Key

Boulder County CareConnect helps seniors stay safe and independent

Meet some of the people who rely on Boulder County CareConnect to be more independent as they grow older here in Boulder County, then consider volunteering; BCCC is a great way to give back.

“Our volunteer program is unique because we offer such a wide range of meaningful opportunities that appeal to almost anyone, regardless of skill level, age, or schedule,” explains Carol Thompson, BCCC volunteer manager.

“If our volunteers simply provided services that make life easier for our clients, it might be enough,” says Jim Rianoshek, BCCC executive director.  “But our caring volunteers do much more. They alleviate isolation, connect the generations, support seniors who are aging in our neighborhoods, and help older adults be more visible in our community.”

BCCC volunteers can work directly with seniors or in other program support positions. Some people volunteer for one day; others sign on for years. Volunteers are always needed and welcome, and BCCC is always recruiting. Today, BCCC’s volunteer community is one of the largest in Boulder County.  Meet some of the people who inspire the energy:

Ralph and his companion

Ralph and his companion

Ralph
Ralph lives in Boulder’s foothills, a 30-minute drive from town. He can’t drive anymore but wants to live in his home of 25 years. His wife passed away several years ago, and his daughter lives hours away. Fortunately, BCCC’s Carry-Out Caravan service is there every week to shop for and deliver Ralph’s groceries and provide him with a little companionship. Ralph’s volunteer makes the drive every week on top of his other deliveries.  “We often sit down and have a little chat,” Ralph says. “And that’s nice because I’m so isolated up here.”  [Volunteer with Carry-Out Caravan]

Susan and Juanita

Susan and Juanita

Juanita
Juanita uses BCCC’s Medical Mobility service, getting volunteer-escorted medical rides to bi-weekly doctors’ appointments. Juanita relies on a cane or metal walker and sometimes needs assistance from others when walking outside or getting into a car. Volunteer driver Susan picks Juanita up every week, takes her to her appointments, waits to take her home, and provides companionship throughout the day. “To have someone to sit down and have good conversation with, it means a lot,” says Juanita. In fact, the two have become so close that they often plan other activities, like concerts, to attend together. Susan also values her time with Juanita. “The benefit that the volunteer gets back is just immeasurable because you feel worthwhile and the clients are so appreciative of what we’re doing,” she says.  [Volunteer with Medical Mobility]

Wendy

Wendy

Wendy
Retired and in a new apartment, Wendy found herself in a predicament common among seniors. She had no physical ability to do home repairs, no family in the area to help, and not much money to spend. Fortunately, Wendy found BCCC and their Fix-It volunteers, who have made her home safer and more comfortable by installing an air conditioner, placing a grab bar in the shower, and changing smoke detector batteries and locks on doors. All of these repairs were made at no cost to Wendy. “The security I feel here is like sunshine after the rain,” Wendy says. “Boulder County CareConnect helped me maintain my independence and gave me hope when I had nobody.”  [Volunteer with FixIt]

Lon and George

Lon and George

Lon and George
When Lon and George began living together in 2007, it was the beginning of a new era for them. But not long after, they experienced serious health issues that put stress on their energy and finances. Home upkeep became a serious challenge. “If I trip, it’s major, so I really have to watch out,” explains George. But if the couple doesn’t clear snow in the winter and weeds in the summer, the city could cite them, or their mobile home park could evict them. Now every winter, a BCCC IceBusters volunteer shovels the walk whenever it snows. When spring arrives, BCCC volunteers from the University of Colorado or local high schools clear overgrowth.  “I was almost ready to go into a place a couple years ago,” George says. “BCCC has helped us stay here. We want to stay in our own place for as long as we can.”  [Volunteer with YardBusters or IceBusters]