Where do you see yourself in your 99th year? What are your hopes and wishes?
For Alpha, staying in her own apartment, managing her own life and staying connected to a good friend are paramount. For just about a full century, Alpha has worked hard and built a good life for herself. She grew up in Minnesota and after World War II she was able to finish up her college courses to graduate from the U of M with an accounting degree. She worked in that field until she retired.

In 2010 Alpha learned about the Senior Companion Program where should could be matched with a weekly visitor volunteer and she knew she would benefit from the extra support and friendship. In December she was introduced to Sandy and they had their first visit on Christmas Eve and since then only a very few weeks have gone by that they have not seen each other.

In the last five and a half years Alpha and Sandy have built a strong relationship based on trust, laughter and SOMETHING. Each week Sandy arrives to Alpha’s apartment and they go through the mail and the bills for the last week. Alpha has severe macular degeneration as well as hearing loss so having Sandy be her eyes and ears in some of those household tasks is invaluable. Then they get ready for their weekly outing which always includes a lunch at McDonalds followed by a needed trip to the grocery store. “It is a treat for me, I don’t get out otherwise,” Alpha shares.

During their time each week they do what all friends do – they chatter about what has gone on in their lives in the last week as well as encourage and support each other. Sandy noted that sometimes she doesn’t feel like leaving her house in the morning but she knows that someone is waiting for her and that motivates her to be active. There are some days she notices that Alpha is a little bit down at the start of their visit but that by the end she is back to her usual self - “I enjoy seeing that I can pull her up out of it” in our time together says Sandy.

Alpha sees herself staying in her own apartment for the long term. Without Sandy’s weekly help she thinks she would most likely have to move somewhere that would provide her more assistance.

For her part, Sandy enjoys how much she learns from the ladies she has served. From Alpha the accountant, she has learned some new tips and tricks on how best to manage her own finances. Sandy is thankful for how appreciative Alpha is for her time and energy. “She always says thank you, it is so nice to be appreciated.”

“You learn about each other and their lives. The advantage of seeing each other every week is you get to really know each other and that is so nice” says Sandy. “It sure is!” Alpha affirms.

-Ann Terlizzi