Never Too Late March/April 2024

Neighbors Care Alliance

Anchored at PCOA

We Nurture Human Connection

Located in the southern region of Pima County, Green Valley is a 55+ community where many retirees live and play. Green Valley offers many opportunities and services for its residents, but many experience a significant “gap.” All too common are feelings of loneliness and stress among those who provide care for their loved ones. Green Valley’s Registered Nurses Group closed in January 2023, after 13 years of providing, among many other services, health advocacy for the community. Their founder, Lynne Severe, suggested that members and community volunteers focus on what the US Surgeon General has deemed one of the biggest health issues worldwide – an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” —Coretta Scott King

One of the monthly meetings: (left to right in the first row) Betsey Medearis (Board Member), Jan Wuori, Esther Brill (Board President), and Cynthia Walcott. (left to right in the second row) Lynne Severe (Program Director), Kathy Downs, Sandra Thornton, Sandy Reifsteck, Alice Bedney, and Madeline Twist. Photographer: Erika Wilke. Launched in October 2023, Green Valley Cares focuses on decreasing the incidence of feelings of loneliness and stress, which have been shown to adversely and seriously affect one’s physical and emotional health. With approximately 80 residents involved with Green Valley Cares as volunteers, friends and people in need, our organization caters to those who want “a listening ear.” This is provided by phone calls or friendly home visits. Four hours of a respite-type visit is also offered for the informal caregiver to use for any reason he or she needs (to run errands, go to an appointment, or simply to take a well- earned break). Our volunteer members’ sole purpose is to provide emotional support in this manner, and they are trained to do so by attending monthly training meetings.

Cynthia Walcott MSW, Final Seasons LLC, presents on communication skills at a monthly volunteer meeting. As part of the Medical Reserve Corps of Southern Arizona (MRCSA), Green Valley Cares is also affiliated with Pima Council on Aging (PCOA), as a partner in the Neighbors Care Alliance. Our referrals come from them, as well as other agencies and groups we support, and from multitudes of community presentations, and extensive marketing distribution of information cards at doctor’s offices, restaurants, nail salons, and so forth. As Esther Brill, Board President, recently wrote in her letter to the editor of the Green Valley News, “Our goal, along with PCOA, is to nurture human connections, and we’ll be providing further support and training as we carry out our mission.” If you are looking for help, give us a call at (520) 440-4457 or email us at GVCares@

Page 32 | March/April 2024, Never Too Late

Pima Council on Aging

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