Bessie’s Hope is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit. all donations are tax deductible

Family & Elders – Kristina Benson

This program is a perfect volunteer opportunity for individuals and families to experience the most rewarding relationship with nursing home and assisted living elders who have little or no personal visitors. To get involved as a Family and Elders Program volunteer, go to that page on our website and fill out the application. Below is a story by one of our volunteers.


“It came up in conversation that Isidro had been an accomplished accordion player. I had an accordion at home, so I decided to bring it in on my next visit to see if he would like to play. When he saw the accordion, Isidro smiled, picked it up, and started playing beautifully. It was quite magnificent to see him shine. Many of the residents gathered chairs around him, and we all listened with joy as he played many songs he had memorized. Isidro said that the accordion was the “tool” he used when speaking for his church.

“It was so amazing to see him play, and he was fantastic, not missing one beat. This taught me a lot, because even though he is in a memory care facility, it was evident he still had not lost any of the memory relating to music or playing the accordion. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share my love for accordion with Isidro. Thank you!” -Kristina Benson

Community & Elder Program – iHeart Radio

iHeart Radio’s talk show host, Bailey, created “Gifts for Grands”, which gives her listeners the opportunity to purchase gifts for nursing home elders who have no visitors. Each elder gets to make a Santa Wish List, so the gifts are especially for that individual. Bailey has partnered with Bessie’s Hope for four years to coordinate with nursing homes and gather the wish lists. For the listeners to be able to experience the joy of seeing the elders’ faces light up from opening their special gifts, Bessie’s Hope facilitates a “Getting to Know You” group session that is followed by the elders opening their gifts. In 2018, there were three nursing homes involved.

Youth & Elder Program – Hampden Academy at Chelsea Place


Hampden Academy students have been visiting their  Chelsea Place Memory Care grandpartners for over two years.  The relationships between the youth and elder are very special to both age groups.  Each monthly visit is like a family reunion, with laughter, hugs, singing, dancing, conversation and fun with whatever the planned activity for the day.

At the December visit, they participated in the Bessie’s Hope “Living History Project.”  All the youth interviewed one or more elders.  At their January visit, the youth will read over a mic their biographical sketches they have composed from the stories shared by the elders.   The youth may also choose to bring something they have created or found that is representative of what they learned about the elder.

 

Youth & Elder Program: DOOR at Brookdale & St Francis Center at Franklin Park

Summer is busy for Bessie’s Hope!  We are honored to partner with organizations like DOOR and St. Francis Center, which host volunteer youth groups from across the country that have come to Denver to participate in community service.  Bessie’s Hope provides education and training to the hundreds of youth and adults in these program, and we coordinate and facilitate their life-changing visits with our nursing home and assisted living elders.  This summer alone we worked with groups from Arkansas, Texas, Minnesota and many more!

One group visiting at our elder care partners had several talented musicians who played the guitar and led the elders and volunteers in sing-alongs.  The voices of young and old alike filled the space with joy at just being together.  Another group had an adult leader who felt drawn to sit and chat with one of the elders and, as they chatted, found that both were below the knee amputees.  They were able to discuss all that they had been through and found strength in sharing that bond with each other.

These stories of connections represent the heart of our work.  We bring all generations together and remind each other that we are valuable.  We all have stories to tell. We have so much to learn from each other. and the work continues.

Do you know a school or youth group that needs to be a part of the Bessie’s Hope magic?  Click here to learn more about our Youth & Elders Program.

Family & Elder Program: Fesl Family Greenridge Place

This month we celebrate the beautiful friendship between the Fesl family, Jessica and Elaine, and several of the elders at Greenridge Place.  These gals have been bringing joy to the elders for almost a year now and we appreciate their dedication, compassion, and time!

If you would like to enhance the life of a nursing or assisted living home elder in your area, please contact us and we’ll help you through the process.  Your efforts mean the world to these elders who have so much to offer. Click here to learn more about our Familiy & Elders Program.

Community & Elders Program: Pathways Church at Juniper Village Louisville

Pathways Church has been visiting Juniper Village Louisville for over a year now!  Twice a month, the group visits Juniper to offer fellowship and fun.  Led by Pastor Will Burger, the small but mighty group sings praise songs and chats with the elders on Sunday mornings to lift their spirits.

Elders and volunteers alike benefit from this interaction as they open their hearts to one another.  Juniper Village Louisville serves elders with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders, so the offering that Pathways members give is very important!  Studies have shown that music can “evoke emotions that bring back memories” and “Music has the power to bring emotional and physical closeness.” in those living with dementia.  Our friends at Juniper Village Louisville and the wonderful volunteers of Pathways Church are building bridges to keep each other connected and we appreciate them very much!

Click here to learn more about how your company or organization can volunteer, too.

Community & Elders Program: Pinnacol Assurance at Chelsea Place

Pinnacol Assurance employees provided over 150 days of service in 2017! Bessie’s Hope is honored to have been selected by this community-service-focused corporation as a nonprofit to host a group of their employees this year.

We facilitated an educational training session and an elder group visit at Chelsea Place for 25 compassionate, fun Pinnacol volunteers. Smiles and warm memories were shared as the elders and volunteers danced to big band music and talked about their first dance partners. Many of the elders had married that very person! The joy continued as the Bessie’s Hope version of Charades lit up faces with laughter.

When it was time to say goodbye, the “Bessie’s Hope Friendship Train” gave the elders the opportunity to give and receive 25 hugs. Of course, we couldn’t resist one last dance before leaving! The Pinnacol group enjoyed lunch onsite, and the elder care volunteer experience concluded with a debrief session. When asked to describe the experience in one word, the resounding answer? “Fun!”

Thank you, Pinnacol Assurance and Chelsea Place!

Click here to learn more about how your company or organization can volunteer, too.

                    

Youth & Elders Program: Denver Center for International Studies at Fairmont visits Cedars Healthcare Center

There is no greater joy than watching the faces of elders as young children enter a senior living space. Eyes light up, smiles begin to form and laughter quickly breaks out, as the youth bring their boundless energy and unbridled sense of merriment and wonder to the room.

This is especially true of our visits between the youth at the Denver Center for International Studies at Fairmont and the elders at Cedars Healthcare Center!   DCIS has been partnering with Bessie’s Hope for almost a year now, and after each visit at Cedars, we think an intergenerational visit couldn’t be better than this one!  They just keep getting better! The students arrive each time with stories to share, willing ears to listen, and lots of love to offer.

Do you know a school or youth group that needs to be a part of the Bessie’s Hope magic?  Click here to learn more about our Youth & Elders Program.

Family & Elders Program: Etta Veysey and Melba at Brookdale Highlands Ranch

After moving from Maine to Colorado, Etta Veysey yearned to be involved again with persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Bessie’s Hope is grateful that Etta reached out to become a volunteer in our Family and Elders Program.   We asked her to share her story in our newsletter.

“My mother, three aunts and an uncle were all diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I spent much time with them during this time in their life.   I came to understand their fears, frustrations, and difficulties dealing with the disease.  My mother also was deaf and had macular degeneration, which added another layer of stress to her.

I decided that if I could bring some measure of comfort, encouragement, and joy to elders, that was my mission.  I searched the web for volunteer opportunities with nursing home or assisted living elders. When I saw the Bessie’s Hope site, I immediately knew this was the organization I wanted to volunteer for. I am so thankful to be doing this work and for such a wonderful organization!!

I have been so blessed from my visits with Melba!  I knew when I first met her that I wanted to really get to know her and develop a relationship with her.  In order to do that, I needed to visit her often and consistently.  It has been pure joy to get to know her and experience her great sense of humor, which makes for a lot of smiles and laughter when we meet!!  We both taught school and grew up in the country, so we have many memories to share with each other and opinions on teaching today!!!  I have learned a lot about shearing sheep and teaching in a one room school house!!

Sometimes Melba and I sing along with music or recite poems and nursery rhymes we remember from our teaching days!  This usually ends in laughter, as neither of us can usually remember all the words!! ,I have gained a very special and treasured relationship with one of the kindest, sweetest, and wittiest human beings I have ever met!  If I have brought her any measure of happiness, friendship, and comfort, then I am truly blessed!!

This week when I came in, Melba’s eyes lit up, she got a big smile on her face, and she started tapping on the table!  “Oh”, she said, “I had hoped you would come!  I am so glad you are here!”  That made my day.  I gain more from the visits than anyone!”

Click here to learn more about our Familiy & Elders Program.

Mike Bucher & Angela Schreffler at Forest Street Compassionate Care

Mike Bucher and Angela Schreffler have been volunteering with the Family and Elder program for almost a year. They were fortunate to have been matched with two roommates at Forest Street Compassionate Care, Clyde and Adib. Mike and Angela visit the two men once a week and have been enriched by the experience.

Adib is a quiet, thoughtful, and inquisitive conversationalist, who loves to swap fun facts with Mike. He has shared his experiences of living all over the country and loves to speak about his Muslim faith. Clyde is kind and content, and he enjoys sharing stories about his childhood, including memories of his parents and siblings.

Mike and Angela started volunteering with Bessie’s Hope after Angela’s father became very ill and spent the last five months of his life in a nursing home. When visiting him, they were struck by how many individuals in the facility never came out of their rooms and didn’t seem to have any visitors. Having worked in nursing homes in high school and college, Angela realized how wide-spread this issue and both agreed that they wanted to help make the life of an elder a little less lonely and isolating.

Mike and Angela consider their visits with Clyde and Adib to be the highlight of each week! Each has learned so much from their time with the men, both individually and as a married couple. Bessie’s Hope has connected them to two individuals who have become part of their family.

If you would like to learn more about our Family & Elders Program, click here.