Betty Zander has been working at Summit as a Senior Companion since 1998. She is very committed to her role as a Senior Companion and is also an advocate for the LIGHT program, which assists low-income families with holiday food and gifts.
Betty has provided Senior Companion services to six elders with disabilities in Missoula in the seven years she has worked with Summit. Four of these six matches have been long term relationships. Betty’s matches describe her as very helpful. They also appreciate all she does to make them feel like they can live more independently in their home and in the community.
Betty has been matched with two people who have seizures. Because of a family member who experiences the same condition, Betty is knowledgeable and supportive of people with epilepsy. In addition, two of her matches have mobility problems and two of her other matches’ primary diagnosis is being blind.
One example of Betty’s work as a Senior Companion is when she was matched with a woman named Ruth. She had been a part of Summit’s epilepsy program, but the group disbanded. After that, Ruth’s neighbor passed away and she had no one in town to depend on for transportation to get her errands done along with someone who understood the inconsistency of the seizures and medication she took. Betty was matched with Ruth for nine years until Ruth moved to Great Falls to live closer to her twin sister in the remaining years of their life.
Betty provides comfort, companionship and a listening ear to all of her matches.