YMOW volunteer Jackie Reid was approaching senior citizen status herself when she finally realized her dream of earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing. For her final thesis paper, Jackie chose to write about the unmet needs of the senior population – something that has long been a focus for her as a health professional. Today, as a YMOW volunteer and our Volunteer of the Quarter, she’s helping to fill the needs of YMOW clients.
Each week Jackie calls more than a dozen YMOW clients to assess their needs, their well-being, and to just offer a chance to chat. With each call Jackie works to establish a trust with the client, in hopes that in time, they will feel comfortable telling her how she and YMOW can help. Many people, Jackie said, are reluctant to admit their need for help. They’re often afraid that by asking for help, they risk losing their independence.
“They don’t want to admit that they are having some problems living alone,” she said.
She often shares with clients the many ways that YMOW can help them age safely at home.
“I’m just blown away by the services that YMOW offers people,” Jackie said.
With each weekly call Jackie’s conversations with clients get a little easier. Ernest wasn’t much of a talker at first, but after a few months his chats with Jackie are getting longer.
“He seems to be opening up more,” Jackie said.
Jackie said she never doubts the importance of her calls. After one such conversation, she suspected the client was suffering from depression. She reported her concern to YMOW’s social worker, who got the woman the help she needed
“She’s doing much better now,” Jackie said.
Jackie said her commitment to YMOW and to the aging population is just part of who she is.
“Being a friendly caller allows me to use some of my skills as a nurse while interacting with people, which I love,” Jackie said. “We’re on this earth not for our own pleasure. We’re here to try to make a difference.”