Tony Isolda, learned about VVCC respite care when his wife was very ill. She got so much out of the visits that when she passed away, he decided he would like to give the gift of respite to others. In 2016 he volunteered with VVCC as a respite care giver.
When he goes to meet with a neighbor, he often brings some kind of treat. He said, “They’re lonely and want to talk.” One person he cares for, Donald, is 95. When Tony visits Donald they play games, read and have an enjoyable time. It gives Tony a good feeling about how his visits lift other’s spirits. From experience Tony says, “Those visits are better than a million bucks to a neighbor.”
To volunteer call (928) 204-1238 or email the Verde Valley Caregivers at email@example.com. Tony is willing to talk to anyone who is interested in volunteering to answer questions about what it is like.
Tony Isolda with painting by his wife in the background.
A year after arriving in Sedona, Willow took a job managing a senior housing complex that, 16 years later, is still her home. She first learned of Verde Valley Caregivers from volunteers who lived in her complex. She was so impressed that she promoted VVCC services in the newsletter she wrote for the residents.
Last year she became very ill and could no longer drive. Not wanting to impose too much on her friends who were willing to drive her, she became a Neighbor, herself. During her illness she needed transportation to Cottonwood two or three times a week and a couple of times to Phoenix. The transportation was “wonderful”. They arrived on time in a nice car, “not full of junk” and they are very interesting people.
The mobility vehicle awarded to VVCC in 2017 makes it so much easier for individuals like Willow who get around most comfortably in a wheelchair or scooter. When the van arrives, she can drive out to meet them and drive right into the vehicle. In addition to transportation, Willow is considering having VVCC help with grocery shopping.
When asked about the difference VVCC makes in her daily life, she explained she is able to receive long-term care in her home. “Caregivers makes that possible.”
More than just a transportation service, VVCC reaches out with phone calls, volunteer visits and opportunities to enrich neighbors' lives. Using one of the tickets donated to VVCC by Chamber Music Sedona, Willow went to the Shepherd on the Rock Concert. This was not something she would ordinarily do, but it was a “wonderful experience”.
Although it is difficult to get around, Willow is interested in using the experience she has had with raising dogs (she even judged dog shows) to help others learn how to properly care for their four-footed friends. OLLI brought a class to the community room of Willow’s residence so that she could present to them. She is eager to keep active and contribute to the community.