For the past five years, my grandmother has been living with Alzheimer’s disease. She is one of five million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease and of those people, two-thirds — or roughly three million individuals — are women. While these statistics are astounding, there is a very human element of watching my grandmother decline over the last few years and it’s heartbreaking.
Volunteers at the heart of a movement
Like most non-profit organizations, the Alzheimer’s Association relies heavily on the support of its volunteers. Without volunteers the Alzheimer’s Association wouldn’t be able to have such a positive impact in the community. For instance, many volunteers serve as community educators providing programs for those with the disease and their caregivers.
Through the eyes of a volunteer
One of the greatest attributes of the Alzheimer’s Association is that they encourage their volunteers to get involved in many different ways. I help annually at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s which is a premier signature event of the Alzheimer’s Association (taking place this year on September 20). I was part of the registration team for the Vermont Flagship walk at the Shelburne Museum. I had an amazing time greeting people at the entrance as they walked in. There is such a great atmosphere between the participants and the organizers because many share a common vision: a world without Alzheimer’s disease.
Be the change; get involved!
There are many reasons to join the Alzheimer’s Association as a volunteer. Many of us are involved because a loved one or someone who they know is affected by the disease. However, even if you don’t have a personal connection we are always looking for enthusiastic people willing to make a difference.
There is great sense of camaraderie that permeates what the volunteers accomplish. There have been many times at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s where I see people band together to talk about their experiences and how they have found solace within one another.
There are many needs to be filled and some of the roles include Community Educators, Support Group Facilitators, Walk to End Alzheimer’s Volunteers, and Community Outreach Volunteers who engage public about the Alzheimer’s Association at events like career fairs, event expos, and farmers markets. If you feel like you could help in any of these roles please contact Jessie Cornell at (802) 316-3839 ext. 8010 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cyrus Roberts, MPH, is a volunteer at the Alzheimer’s Association who has a grandmother who lives with Alzheimer’s disease.