Editor’s Note: For this Weekly InSight, the Communications team decided to hand the post over to Olivia Bernal, a Time Out volunteer. We hope you enjoy the switch and gain another perspective of the work we do here at the PMC.
When I get to John’s* house, he’s already set up on the couch, a stack of colorful games and puzzles out on the table before him. We settle on Bingo. He asks about my weekend, and I take out my phone to show him photos of my dogs at the park. He smiles and reminisces about the dog he had in New Orleans. The visit is nearly identical to the one three days prior, but John either doesn’t remember or doesn’t mind. John has Alzheimer’s disease and requires near-constant supervision. He is pleasant and easygoing, enjoying games, music, and walks around the neighborhood during visits. He also frequently overestimates his abilities, requiring a watchful eye and nearby assistance.
I am a volunteer for Time Out, a program sponsored by the Temple University Intergenerational Center and the Penn Memory Center that places students in the homes of older adults with dementia to provide respite care for their caregivers. John’s wife is his primary caregiver, but my visits give her a few hours to run errands, work, or simply have some time to herself.