Think outside the box for a New Year’s resolution — help others and feel better yourself

This is the time of year that we set goals for ourselves. While polls show that fewer than one-half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, most of us seek to live better after the holidays by exercising more, eating less, and demonstrating willpower. We strive to not be the person standing at the kitchen counter, spoon in hand, polishing off the half-gallon of ice cream!  

Willpower, however, doesn’t help us create or sustain long-lasting change. According to the website Statistic Brain, only a fraction of those who make resolutions — 9.2 percent — report success keeping them.

Sometimes, perhaps, what’s needed more to improve our lives is a meaningful connection with other people. So, as we start the New Year, let’s look beyond ourselves (and our inevitable shortcomings) for some inspiration. And, maybe success!

One of the strengths of Community Caregivers is that we create a sense of community for those we serve and those who serve. We connect people who want to help with those who need a helping hand.

While our service area encompasses five Albany County Towns (Guilderland, Bethlehem, New Scotland, Berne, and Knox) and the city of Albany, we assign volunteers near where they live or work. And we serve as a trusted resource for family caregivers.

We invite you to join our community.

If you are an adult who finds it harder of late to keep your home and daily life in good order, maybe we can help. Our volunteers are kind, caring, and respectful.

A Community Caregivers’ volunteer might be able to offer you a ride, grocery shopping help, a visit, or a regular friendly telephone call. Depending on what you need, a volunteer might put away your groceries, help you sort the mail, read aloud, or simply swap stories and share a laugh with you.

We know that people are sometimes reluctant to ask for help, but remember, this is not a one-way street. Our volunteers are eager to serve and will also benefit from meeting you.

If you are a family caregiver who helps a loved one stay in the community and delay a move to assisted living, we offer support; education; and, importantly, a few hours off. Our respite volunteers may be able to give you a break by coming to your home and spending time with your loved one.

And, through education programs and a support group, we create a community for caregivers, so you know that you’re not alone.

If you would like to make a difference in the lives of others, volunteer with us. We always need volunteer drivers; our drivers use their own cars and start from home, not the office.

In 2018, we are creating care teams that might be a good fit for you; we always offer volunteers flexible schedules. If you have a cell phone and a few minutes, you can volunteer to make regular calls this winter to an elderly person who is homebound during the snowy months.   

So, in the days ahead, maybe think outside the box for a New Year’s resolution. Sign up to help in your community; we offer two volunteer information/orientation sessions monthly. In January, the first is Thursday, Jan. 4, at noon; the second is Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. We ask that you register: online at or by calling (518) 456-2898.

Call us if you might need a little help for yourself or a loved one and join us for caregiver education programs. We announce our programs in Caregivers’ Corner, on our website, and on our Community Caregivers’ Facebook page.

From all of us, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services, including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New  Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Our funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. To find out more about our services, as well as volunteer opportunities, please visit or call us at (518) 456-2898.

Editor’s note: Linda Miller is the Outreach and Education coordinator for Community Caregivers.