This summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to get an insider’s view of the Alzheimer’s Association. I spent over 120 volunteer hours at the Greater Michigan Chapter of the Association as part of my master’s certificate program in Gerontology, and it was time well spent.
My goal during my volunteer time was to get a well-rounded view of the Alzheimer’s Association and the services and resources it provides to families facing an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. I spent about half of my time answering calls on the Association’s Helpline, which provides support, education and referral services to callers. I spent another large part of my time in the Sakwa Day Program, a respite program for individuals diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It provides a safe, activity-oriented experience for people with dementia while their care providers work, run errands, or just get a break. I was also able to participate in community education programs and observe support groups during my volunteer time.
My experience at the Alzheimer’s Association gave me a greater base of knowledge with which to help Center clients, and others, going forward. Even more valuable, I feel that I have a better understanding of what families are facing with a dementia diagnosis. I know that we are very lucky to have an Association in our neighborhood that provides a wide range of services and resources, with a staff that has a passion for what they do – a passion that radiates to others, including me.
For more information on the local Alzheimer’s Association, services and programs, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit the website at www.alz.org/gmc.