They often refer to caring for someone with dementia as “the long, sad goodbye.” The reason being is that you are slowly losing pieces of your loved one as the disease progresses. It can be a very challenging experience and one that can take a lot out of you the caregivers. Here are a few tips to help you manage your grief while saying goodbye.
Monday, October 16 was just an ordinary day for Margaret Castro; she was helping at AFC’s front gate, escorting patients inside for the day when she was told to come to the recreation room. When she went inside, she was confused as to why multiple staff members were just standing around waiting for her. Her confusion turned to shock when she was named the “Volunteer of the Quarter.”
“I was randomly asked to go to the New Connections room which was strange, because I usually work the front gate. When I went to the room, everyone was just standing around, and I was wondering what the heck everyone was doing. It was then that Carina [Burling] announced that I was named Volunteer of the Quarter.”
Margaret started volunteering at Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) in February 2017. She loved working with seniors and wanted to find a place that best matched her interests. After searching online, she found AFC and fell in love.
“I had been volunteering since I was very young, and I love working with seniors. After my mother passed away years ago, I realized that I relate to them very well. So, I started looking for organizations to volunteer at in Huntington Beach where I could work with seniors. At first, nothing caught my eye, but when I looked online, I found AFC. I knew right away that’s where I needed to be.”
Margaret spends most of her time tending to the front gate in the morning, greeting patients as they come in. She loves to ask them about their weekend and get them pumped up for the day. “Some patients always wave when they come in, and when you wave back, it puts such a huge smile on their face.”
When she isn’t volunteering, Margaret loves to go deep sea fishing with her husband. They go to Cabo San Lucas for fishing tournaments and have caught huge marlin and sailfish. “Once I got seasickness out of the way, we started going more often. It’s very thrilling to catch these huge fish.”
Currently, Margaret comes to the center every Monday and for AFC’s special events. She also loves to help during the holidays so that she can see the decorations. AFC is so lucky to have Margaret as a volunteer!