There are more than 300 people involved with volunteer programs at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SECS), helping out with nutrition, medical appointments and companionship, to name a few.
In honor of National Volunteer Month, SCES is highlighting some of our dedicated people who are doing important work in our community.
Jeanne Leyden is the director of the Adult Family Care program at SCES, and began volunteering as a Spiritual Caregiver in 2016. We recently caught up with Leyden to say thanks, and to ask a few quick questions…
Q What do you do as a Spiritual Caregiver?
A After an extensive training process, I was matched with my first care receiver. I met her in her home every week until she passed away, and then I began working with my second care receiver. As a Spiritual Caregiver, you laugh, you cry, and you share.
Q What have you learned from volunteering?
A The experience was more than I ever thought it would be. It’s really taught me to respect that each person is unique, and to accept wherever they are in life. I was able to share very intimate moments with my first care receiver. She talked openly to me about the process of dying – she was not afraid! She let me into the most personal moments of her life. I learned so much from this first experience that I felt ready to work with another person after she passed away.
Q Why do you volunteer?
A I’m Catholic, and I always wanted to do something like this. You really form a bond and a friendship. I love it!
Through the Aging and Spiritual Wellbeing program, Spiritual Caregivers provide compassionate support to enhance the spiritual well-being of clients who are struggling with depression, loss, grief, and/or concerns of normal aging. The program is interfaith and non-denominational. For more information about Aging and Spiritual Wellbeing, or any of our other volunteer programs, call 617-628-2601, x3051 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.