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At times it is easy to forget that elderly people were not always old; that they have had wonderfully productive lives that, of necessity, have slowed down through the natural aging process. One such woman is soon to be 95 year old Sophie B. of Gardner, an active, fiercely independent woman for most of her life.

As age took its toll, Sophie began to accept home care services from MHCC after it became clear that she could no longer do so many of the things she still wanted to do without help. No longer able to drive, she looked to the Medical Escort/Companion Volunteer program for some assistance in getting to needed doctors appointments and help doing her weekly grocery shopping.

Linda F. of Westminster was assigned to become Sophie’s volunteer, beginning what has been 10 years of a friendship, one that has allowed Sophie to live independently and has allowed Linda to live for something other than myself, a sentiment she still holds dear after more than 20 years of service in the volunteer program.

Sophie’s apartment is filled with her framed art, a hobby she took up after attending an adult education course when she was 40 years old. She became so accomplished that a local gallery offered to carry her art, selling more than 100 pieces over the years. These days, unable to paint because of arthritis, she faithfully chronicles each day’s activities on a donated electric typewriter.

During one recent week, Linda, referred to by Sophie as my Angel #1, escorted Sophie to a doctor’s appointment, hemmed a new dress for her, did her weekly grocery shopping, and took her to Friendly’s for lunch, one of Sophie’s favorite restaurants.

And twice a month without fail, Linda brings Sophie to her home for dinner, where the menu often includes scallops, one of Sophie’s favorite meals. Last November, discovering she too was going to be without family for the holiday, Linda joined Sophie for the day. The two ladies shared a Thanksgiving meal at Sophie’s apartment, resulting in a happy day filled with lots of laughs and good conversation between friends.

One only has to meet Sophie and her faithful volunteer, Linda, to observe an elder living quite independently, with dignity, in a home of her choosing, and a volunteer who cherishes the time spent with her client. Both lives have been made richer because of the Montachusett Home Care’s Medical Escort/ Companion volunteer program.”

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