If Barbara isn’t river rafting, hiking, or camping she is serving as a Senior Companion for the Five County AOG AmeriCorps Seniors Program.
For the past 6 years she has assisted her fellow seniors in Parowan, Utah. Helping them with transportation to medical appointments, shopping, and other needed errands. But more importantly she is their friend. Three of her 7 clients have been with her since she started. The following is a little story one of her ladies shared with me.
I find my Senior Companion to be very rare, but definitely a natural for her chosen occupation. Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver! I find her to be dependable, efficient, knowledgeable, discerning, and compassionate. I couldn’t ask for more.
For example: One day we started out, my list in hand. I knew we needed to be efficient and well organized as I had a hearing appointment, RX’s to pick up, the thrift shop and, of course, lunch. That’s a lot! But luck was with us. We only ran an hour late! So back to Parowan.
“Whoa Nellie!” I said, “look at all those deer!” She said, “I can take you closer.” But I said, “it’s already so late”. She said nothing but drove the backroad for a closer view. We estimated 100 head. What a thrill we shared! We watched them ‘til darkness overtook us. I shall never forget that day! Thank you Lord for my Senior Companion.
As you can tell Barbara is a fantastic Senior Companion who goes the second mile. But Barbara’s service does not stop at there. She serves her community, family, and church. She cared for her mother the last few years of her life while also being a caregiver for her in-laws.
While raising her two sons Barbara was a foster parent for pregnant teen girls. She also took in younger children and once was asked to take in two little boys 2 days before Christmas! She said that was one of her family’s most memorable Christmases.
When talking to Barbara you soon find out what she loves the most: her church, her 2 sons, Heidi her dog, and those she serves. And of course, river rafting (over 1,000 river miles) with her sons and 10 grandchildren. She is a special lady and always leaves you believing that you are her special friend.
AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers help meet the needs and challenges of America’s communities using resources provided by grants and the energy and efforts of citizens aged 55 and over. AmeriCorps Seniors is a national service program funded by AmeriCorps. Senior Companions provide assistance and friendship to older adults who have difficulty with daily living tasks, such as shopping or paying bills. They help these adults remain independent in their homes instead of having to move to more costly institutional care. Senior Companions also offset the responsibilities that typically fall on family members or professional caregivers.