Theresa Williams

Theresa Williams has been a volunteer at Blair Senior Services, Inc. for 6 years as a Senior Companion.
Theresa, who was forced into retirement after an injury, started to feel like she needed something else and wanted to supplement her income. “After a few years, I had some boredom and wanted to do something else. I enjoy taking care of people so the Senior Companion Program was perfect for me,” she said.
As a Senior Companion, Theresa assists consumers by providing assistance around the home, sharing in conversation about past memories, or even attending social events together.
“I enjoy being a Senior Companion because I enjoy building those relationships,” Theresa said. “I love being able to make them laugh and to see that I am making a difference in their day.”
Along with all of the other companionship roles, Theresa can also provide transportation when needed for her consumers. “I always enjoy taking them grocery shopping. I think it’s fun to take them out to the store, and it’s nice to see them getting out. We always have a lot of fun,” Theresa commented.
Along with being a Senior Companion, Theresa also works as a Certified Nurses Aid (CNA) at Hillview Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and assists with activities and breakfast at Allegany Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM) for the residents. She is also a family caregiver, taking care of her mother full-time.
“I’m a very busy person, so my time with my clients through the Senior Companion Program is really helpful to me. It’s very relaxing,” she said. “It lets me press pause on my day to really focus on the clients and assisting them.”
Along with the relaxation, Theresa feels with being a Senior Companion, she’s also found a second family. “My clients have become like a second family to me. There are some that I just have a great relationship with and we share so many things together,” she shared.
Above all, Theresa enjoys the rewarding aspects of her role the most. “It’s very rewarding to be there for people and to help them with every day things,” she stated. “I never would’ve pictured myself doing something that I love so much. Blair Senior Services has really helped me along the way and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
If you are interested in volunteering for Blair Senior Services, Inc.’s Senior Companion Program, please call 814-946-1235.

Rick “Mac” MacIntyre

Rick “Mac” MacIntyre has been a dedicated Van Driver for Blair Senior Services, Inc. for 32 years.
Mac, who began driving when things were much different, reflected back on the differences when he started as a driver: “The whole operation has just changed completely. We are now working on a more computerized system, so now there’s computer schedules instead of paper,” he said. “I tell the new drivers they’re lucky, because before we didn’t have a garage, so we’d have to clean off our vans in the winter time just like everyone else. Now, we report to work and we have a nice, dry van to start up and move on with our day.”
Before Mac started as a Van Driver, he worked at United Service Company, a linen supply company out of Johnstown. Looking for a career change, he found out about the job through his neighbor and has worked as a driver ever since, into his retirement years.
Mac’s favorite aspect of his job is the connection he feels with his riders. “I really like the people you meet and the interaction you have with the consumers. I’ve had a lot of friendships with consumers since I’ve worked here for 32 years,” Mac said.
Just by speaking with Mac uncovers his passion and love for driving for Blair Senior Services, Inc. His biggest accomplishment over the course of his career is a clean driving record.
“Over 32 years of driving and I’ve never had an accident,” Mac said. “I’m kind of proud of that.”
Not only is this a great accomplishment overall, but especially in today’s world with all of the distractions everyday drivers face. “Today my biggest challenges are distracted drivers and making sure I keep my consumers safe,” Mac said. “It’s definitely harder to drive today than what it was when I started. We have to be very diligent as drivers and drive very defensively to ensure everyone stays safe on the road.”
One of the things Mac would like to remind readers about Blair Senior Services, Inc. Transportation Services is that they can take you to more than just doctor’s appointments. “We can provide trips to family visits, hair appointments, the store… you name it. If you qualify, we can take you,” Mac shared. To inquire about transportation services, call Blair Senior Services, Inc.’s Transportation Office at 814-695-3500.

Rewrite Your Retirement

Many working adults go through their careers anxiously waiting for retirement as they prepare for days of freedom from their jobs. They fantasize about their days at home, where they have complete control over what they do day-to-day or what they’re not going to do. It is a dream for many to reach this point, but what happens when retirement isn’t everything you may think it is?
In reality, the number of working seniors is on the rise, and there are multitudes of people “un-retiring.” Some seniors who “un-retire” lead into a career that is completely different than their previous careers. There are those who also pursue higher education or go back to further their education after coming out of retirement. Older adults who have “un-retired” have given many reasons why they have come out of retirement, with boredom being the main reason.
John “Jack” Butler retired in 2008 after 39 years of working as a Machinist with the railroad. He currently works as a Van Driver for Blair Senior Services, Inc. two days per week. About 4 years ago I started to go stir crazy. My wife hadn’t retired yet and I was home alone all day, with no one to talk to… it got lonely and I was very bored,” shared Jack. Some of the other top reasons why seniors are “un-retiring” are to supplement existing income, increase social security benefits, increase socialization, improve mental sharpness and stay active into their older adult years.

“I’m not sitting at home watching television or putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Jack said. “Driving definitely keeps me moving.”
Along with driving two days per week, Jack volunteers at Bishop Guilfoyle High School as a full-time chaperone when going on trips to Pittsburgh, New York and beyond. He also volunteers at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on the Funeral Committee.
“I try to keep busy when I’m not working or volunteering. I have 11 grandkids all across the state, so with my flexible schedule it’s easy to go visit them when I need to,” Jack said.

Above all, Jack believes that the socialization aspect with the consumers is the best part. “I hear some great stories from our consumers,” he shared. “Sometimes, though, some of our consumers just need to talk to someone, we’re all they have. I know how they are feeling and I consider it my ministry here on Earth to be there for them.”
Some older adults choose not to retire altogether, working directly into their retirement years. Rick “Mac” MacIntyre has worked as a Van Driver for Blair Senior Services, Inc., for 32 years. Previously, he had worked for United Service Company, a linen service that was based out of Johnstown. MacIntyre enjoys keeping busy so he can remain mentally sharp and active.
“You must keep active,” Mac said. “Do something you enjoy and get out among people and socialize. Use it or you lose it.”
Theresa Williams, who is 69 years old, had always dreamed of being in the healthcare industry. “I was always looking to take care of someone, even pets. I love to care for my pets and my family,” Theresa stated.
When Theresa had the opportunity to become a Certified Nurses Aid (CNA) at Hillview Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, it was like a dream come true. Although this was an exciting moment in Theresa’s life, it was challenging.
“It was very high paced with a lot of long days,” she said. “My age and schedule definitely made it a challenge.”
While Theresa was completing her coursework for the CNA program, she also continued to volunteer for Blair Senior Services, Inc. as a Senior Companion, helped with activities at Hillview, and assisted with breakfast and activities at Allegany Lutheran Social Ministries (ALSM). “I don’t regret any of it though, I enjoy helping others and caring for them,” Theresa shared.
One of the things that helped motivate Theresa through her CNA coursework was some of her other classmates. “The girls I was completing the course with were 19-23 year olds and they were just so supportive and really did motivate me through the program,” Theresa said. “I am so glad to have made friendships with them. We’re going to work together at Hillview.”
With all of her accomplishments, Theresa never thought she would make it to this point. “I’m not going to lie, I doubted myself and I really let my age hold me back for a while. But older adults need to realize that they can do it and you can get a second chance at something you’ve always wanted to do,” Theresa said.
Along with keeping older adults active, “un-retiring” can open new experiences and new friendships from all generations for those considering coming out of retirement. DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Laguna Splash along with Marianna’s Fundraisers have a large number of older adults who work for them both seasonally at the park and year-round at Marianna’s.
Joe Bilka, who works in the Security Department at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Laguna Splash, is in his fourth year at the park. Joe, who is 69 years old, retired as a History Teacher from Philadelphia and decided to come back to his hometown of Altoona following his retirement. A father of three and a grandfather of seven, he is currently enrolled at Penn State University to receive his masters degree in Human Development & Psychology.
Joe, like many other “un-retired” older adults, enjoys the socialization and increased activity level benefits. “I like people and keeping busy keeps me young,” Joe said.
Prior to the opening of their 2019 park season, DelGrosso’s had 534 employees that were 51 and older (17% of their current workforce) with a goal of hiring 750 older adults. Their older adults like the flexible work schedule they can have working at the amusement park.
“We always try to accommodate their schedules and needs,” shared Amy Mearkle, Director of Marketing. “The park is a really fun environment and our staff spans generations. The older adults like interacting with the younger staff and they become friends. They also take on the role of mentors with bonds that last a long time.”
Not only does having colleagues from different generations create diversity in the workplace, it also benefits each employee differently. According to an AARP online survey, older workers appreciate younger workers for their technology skills, new perspectives and creativity; whereas younger workers appreciate older workers for their wisdom and experience in navigating the workplace.
Bruce Beck, who is in his sixth season with DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Laguna Splash, is a retired dairy farmer from Sinking Valley.
Bruce, being 59 years old, got restless at home after retirement and needed a change of pace.
“I got tired of sitting at home and doing nothing when I retired,” Bruce said.
Along with keeping busy, Bruce enjoys the connections that DelGrosso’s has provided for him.
“The friends I have made here at work are awesome,” Bruce shared. “I really enjoy being here.”
Positions available at DelGrosso’s and Marianna’s include: games, first aid, lifeguards, clean-up, ticket sales, maintenance, cash office, gift shop/retail, mascot character, food service, information booth, logistics/warehouse, customer service, security/parking and rides. In addition to competitive wages for new and returning staff, they offer flexible scheduling, employee referral program and discounts, reciprocal ride passes to select Pennsylvania amusement parks, and training.

Many of Marianna’s older adult workers enjoy their flexible schedule; employees work five-hour shifts, five days per week beginning at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. and complete their shifts at 11 a.m. or noon.
“We’ve found a lot of the older adults like getting up early and finishing work with time left in the day to spend with family and friends,” said Amy.
To find job postings and apply, go to their website at www.delgrossos.com and follow the directions. You may apply for more than one job. If you have questions about or need assistance with the application process, you can contact their Human Resources Department at 814-684-5880.

To find volunteer and employment opportunities at Blair Senior Services, Inc., visit www.blairsenior.org or call 814-946-1235.