Dulcie Brown is an “active ager,” playing on two senior softball teams, attending exercise classes, going to the weight room, walking, playing piano, drawing and watercolour painting. She also sits on the Provincial Committee for Patients as Partners, and is a home interview volunteer for first-year medical students at the University of British Columbia. She says “yes” to almost any type of volunteering, and was more than happy to answer a few questions.
Q: How did you get involved with volunteering as a peer coach for the Patient Voices Network? What does the work entail?
A: I came from a background of leading, guiding, coaching and teaching. Through co-leading one of the Self-Management programs at the University of Victoria’s Centre on Aging, I heard about the Patient Voices Network. As a volunteer peer coach, I make six peer-led telephone calls to individuals who have signed up through the Patient Voices Network website, and who would like to change their lifestyle, usually by losing weight, quitting smoking or something similar. I support and motivate them to set and reach their goals. It is very rewarding to help someone change.
Q: You have remained active and engaged in your community even after you retired early due to chronic illness. How important is this community connection in your life?
A: It is on the top of my list. Staying active and involved helps with self-esteem and confidence. I get a sense of achievement from following through with something I said I would. These activities help me stay healthy, mentally and emotionally. I have moved a lot, and the first thing I do before I move is find out where the community centre, pool and library are. You have to go out to meet people, and communities are a great place to do that.
Q: On June 9, 2011, you were a panellist at the B.C. Active Aging Symposium. What drew you to participate?
A: I was asked, and that is a lovely compliment. Seniors have a lot to offer, but not a lot of opportunities. As we get older we seem to disappear and become invisible, and our value and purpose can disappear as well. I am glad to be able to share my voice. Boomers have always been known to change society, so maybe we will change the way society views seniors too.