After six months of retirement, Steve Bellmont, of Lynnfield, had a desire to continue contributing to a cause. He discovered our friendly visitor/shopper program and thought it would be a good match for his skills and interests.
Five years later, Steve is known as the program’s “step up” volunteer because Diane Kessler, the Home Care Support Coordinator, knows whenever she needs someone to step up she can count on him.
“Steve’s dedication is superb,” she says. “He goes above and beyond for our seniors whenever he can and thinks nothing of it.”
Friendly visitor/shoppers provide companionship and assistance to older adults who may be isolated by visiting in their homes or participating in activities.
Over the years, Steve has worked with many seniors as a grocery shopper as well as a regular point of contact. Most of the people he works with live alone and without family support.
“Getting old can be stressful,” he says, “but can be more so without a good support system backing you up.”
Prior to retirement, Steve worked in finance and accounting for the hospitality industry.
“I’m good with numbers, but I think I’m equally adept at emotions, and working with the elderly gives me that opportunity to listen, assist, encourage, and help navigate them through this chapter of their life,” he says.
Steve fondly recalls a husband and wife team he met through the program. She had health issues and was the primary caregiver for her husband, who had dementia. She hoped to find someone who could visit with him and play cribbage with her. Steve was happy to help.
“I connected immediately with him,” Steve says. “I found out he had a love of jazz, and I shared that interest with him. We were able to relate to that topic and enjoyed listening to music together.”
Steve is now shopping for three seniors, and due to the pandemic, the visits are different than they used to be but no less important.
“I can’t spend as much time with them as I would like,” he says.
Every week, he calls his seniors to get their shopping lists. After making the rounds to all the stores, he delivers the orders. Although he is no longer able to bring the groceries into the homes, he delivers to the door where he has a quick chat which also serves as a safety check. Payment is arranged by each senior.
Our agency depends on volunteers like Steve to recognize any issues and keep us informed of the well-being of our seniors.
As for Steve, he recommends others get involved with volunteering. “I have met some interesting people along the way,” he says. “I like to think that both the seniors and I have benefited by working together.”