CAREGIVERS: Volunteers Assisting the Elderly during the Pandemic

by Carol Leish

“Requests have doubled this last year during the pandemic, which has required the organization to automate volunteer coordination,” according to, Tammy Glen, who has been the Executive Director for 10 years. “A volunteer coordinator was hired to help to set the stage for future growth. CAREGIVERS has welcomed as many volunteers in the first two months of the COVID-19 Pandemic as they normally would over the course of one year. More recently, retired teacher Toby Petty joined the team as the Student Engagement Coordinator. CAREGIVERS now has an easy-to-use online portal where volunteers who have been vetted with informed consent can access assignments as needed.”

Volunteers lend their helping hands 2-4 hours per week to CAREGIVERS for tasks such as grocery shopping, changing a lightbulb, providing transportation to a medical appointment, meal prep, or friendly visiting by phone or in person. Glen said, “Consider yourself a good neighbor who’s willing to lend a helping hand with added support from the CAREGIVERS Office Team. Even if you’re helping your neighbor now, it’s a good idea to give CAREGIVERS a call. Our organization can help to identify additional resources as well as provide an umbrella of support that you may not have considered.” She also said that, “CAREGIVERS Volunteers do not provide professional care such as toileting, bathing or wound care.”

Glen said that, “We always need donors and volunteers. CAREGIVERS exists thanks to the generosity of donors who underwrite the costs of delivering services and coordinating volunteers. Our operation is efficient in that it costs us 20 cents on the dollar to provide services, and we are effective in making these services available to low-income senior who would otherwise not have access to the types of support that our volunteers provide.”

According to Glen, “Volunteer Caregiving was launched across the nation in 1984 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Ventura County was one of the original 25 pilot programs, which was the first one in California. Over the course of 20 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invested $100 million dollars to establish 1,000 programs like CAREGIVERS: Volunteers Assisting the Elderly.”

“The organization currently focuses on individuals 60 years of age or older. The average age served is 85,” according to Glen. “We are always seeking volunteers who are willing to provide transportation, which is a precious commodity. In addition, we are growing the number of youth volunteer teams throughout Ventura County. Thus, we need Adult Team Leaders who are willing to work with 2-3 high school youth each week to tackle light household chores at the homes of the seniors that we serve. We also have fun opportunities for volunteers interested in helping with our sailing, miniature golf and golf events as well as more challenging opportunities such as providing respite for family caregivers who are confronting the challenges of early stages of dementia in their loved ones.”

CAREGIVERS website is: Glen said, “You can learn more about the day in a life of a volunteer caregiver by taking a look at some of our favorite videos that are posted on the website. Our organization continues to thrive on the time and talent of volunteers. With the equivalent of four full-time staff in the office, the organization relies upon the multitude of talents from the volunteer base, which includes individuals like Volunteer Coordinator Renee Becker and Intern Supervisor Doug Miller, who are both indispensable to our daily operations. Please call us at: (805) 658-8530 to become involved.”

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