At 82 years old, Alice Gutierrez continues to provide medical transportation and grocery shopping for seniors, something she has done for twenty-four years as a CVCJ Volunteer. Alice learned about the opportunity in 1994, only months after CVCJ was formed, and remembers thinking, “I have the time, a car, and the ability to help people who need me, so I’m signing up.” And CVCJ hit the jackpot that day!
Alice wasn’t new to caregiving. She helped her mother through a struggle with Alzheimer’s and did whatever she could to keep her at home and out of a facility. She also cared for her husband in their home as he neared the end of his battle with cancer. Alice experienced the heartache and witnessed the devastating effects of dementia as both her mother and brother were robbed of their identities and locked out of memories from the lives they once lived. She felt there was a lack of compassion and understanding, and recalled one incident in particular. “My sister and I went to visit my brother, and the nurse told us, ‘He may not know who you are. He may not remember you.’” Alice said, sounding slightly annoyed. “That really bothered me, so I said, but I will! But I will know who he is.”
Alice has always lived a busy life and to this day cannot sit still. She had four children with her first husband, then married a widower who lived on her block and also had four children. Rather than create a combined household with eight children, he and Alice decided to remain in their separate homes, each with their own four children! “We were very happy living that way,” Alice said, “even though our houses were across the street from each other!”
Alice continues to provide medical transportation for CVCJ almost every week. “I’ve met so many lovely women over the years and made some really nice friendships,” she shared. “Most of the women I care for live alone and some are so sad. Spending time with them and listening to their interesting stories gives me a good feeling.”
Alice is also very active in her church and attributes her happy and fulfilling life to her faith in God and always remaining busy, an approach she clearly continues to practice today.
Thank you, Alice, for everything you do, and for all you have done, to help seniors remain independent in their own homes.