Arlene Miller likes to do things for herself. When her husband, Merv, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she learned how comforting it can be to have someone to lean on and share the responsibilities.
Merv was matched with Bob, a volunteer with United Way’s Faith in Action program in Westmoreland County. At the time, Arlene was driving and helping Merv exercise three times each week and was so happy that Bob was able to take him once a week. As time went by, the three developed a deep relationship and enjoyed their time together. When Merv passed, Bob attended the funeral to pay his respects and show support.
After reflecting on the impact Bob had on her husband’s life, Arlene felt she had no choice but to give back by volunteering with Faith in Action. She was matched with then 91-year-old Genevieve nearly six years ago and the pair has been together ever since. Arlene helps Genevieve with a variety of tasks, from transportation to shopping, and even just visiting in her living room.
“Genevieve calls me her best friend. I know she’s grateful and appreciates the time we spend together,” Arlene said.
Arlene’s favorite part of United Way’s Faith in Action program is that volunteers can start with a small commitment, like driving a senior to their appointments once a week, and step up their involvement when they are ready.
“In our community, there are so many people who are lonely or just need a little bit of help. If we all gave a little bit of our time, there wouldn’t be so many lonely people,” Arlene said.