A Volunteer Profile

Valerie Hackman

"I know I'm appreciated and that feels great," says volunteer Valerie Hackman, 51, of Bethesda. She visits the Home three times a week during lunchtime to assist staff caring for residents with dementia. "I love that I can make a real contribution."

Valerie first envisioned possible roles she could play in the lives of older adults while a student at Northeastern University, where she majored in Human Services. Decades later, when attending to her grandmother who briefly received care at the Home, she began to recognize the importance of providing emotional support to someone coping with age-related illness and decline.

Her empathy, in particular for individuals with cognitive impairment, increased when she was asked by the family of a Home resident to be a companion for their 95-year-old relative. "As soon as I came into her life, the family saw such a difference in her — and in the quality of her life," explains Valerie.

As a volunteer, Valerie responds to the need she perceives residents have to be treated with dignity, kindness, and acceptance. Her sensitivity is a gift — and we are grateful that she has chosen to share it with us.

If you are interested in exploring volunteer opportunities at Charles E. Smith Life Communities, please visit our Volunteer page. You'll find an application form and the Schedule of Interviews and Orientations offered by the Volunteer Department. For specific questions, please contact us by email or call 301.770.8333.


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