Volunteer Spotlight: Joe McCauley

Name: Joe McCauley

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do as a volunteer?
Patient care in home care and nursing homes.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I had some extra time on my hands after I retired, and my mother was a nurse and my wife was a nurse, and I was a mailman so I’m a service-oriented type of person, and I thought that perhaps I would be of some comfort to some people. So I thought I would look into this and that’s what I did.

Why Angela Hospice?
I just happened to be around here, it’s in the area. My wife actually worked for Trinity and she wondered, “Why did you go to Angela’s instead of us?” (laughs) Angela’s was what was available at the time so I went over here.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
To have given some comfort to some patients or their families. So much of it depends on the circumstances too. Some people you have more of a rapport with. I think the time that you have a rapport with somebody, that will give you the most reward. But you can’t look at it that way. You have to look at it like you’re there to be there for them.

    Joe works with patients in home care and nursing homes.
Some people have asked me, “Why would you want to do something like this knowing that all these people are going to die at any time?” And I said, “Well, it reminds me of when I was a student. I would go on the bus to Wayne State and I would meet people on the bus and get to know them a little bit, but they would always be getting off at certain stops. So I look at this as like these people are getting off at certain stops while I continue along.” So that’s the only way, I think emotionally, I can be able to handle it.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
There was this one young boy I used to go see at his house to give his mother a break because she was his main caregiver. He couldn’t do anything except for lay in his bed and play computer games. I thought, “Oh my God, this is going to be terrible, I’ll just be there watching him play computer games.” But it actually worked out pretty nice, and over time we got to have a better rapport, and I got to help him out sometimes. If the controller fell out of his hands he couldn’t get it. That’s what kind of shape he was in. I had to place it back in his hands or get him something to eat, whatever it was that he would need while his mom was out. I felt more of a rapport with him and I looked forward to going to see him more than I had before originally. There was another gentleman who was a pastor and he used to be an airplane pilot too. He was a very interesting guy to talk to.

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