News / USA

    Thanks to Volunteers, Elderly Can Age in Place

    Thanks to Neighbors, Elderly Can Age in Placei
    X
    April 24, 2013 3:18 PM
    In many countries around the world, families stay close. It’s routine for several generations to live together, with adult children caring for their aging parents. But in the United States, with children moving far from parents and grandparents for college or career, many senior citizens find themselves living alone. Moving to an assisted living facility is an option, but many seniors would rather stay independent, in their own home. Local governments and non-profit groups offer services to help them do that. Faiza Elmasry tells us about one of those volunteer organizations, which started as a neighborhood project in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Thanks to Neighbors, Elderly Can Age in Place
    Faiza Elmasry
    Phyllis Ramberg, 85, lives alone in Hyattsville, Maryland, in the same house her parents lived in for many decades.

    “Children keep asking me, ‘When are you going to move to one of those retirement villages?’ I say, ‘No, no. My friends are here, my church is close," Ramberg said. "I've got everything I need, right in this neighborhood.’”

    A year ago, Ramberg was able to take care of her backyard; planting shrubs, pulling up weeds and raking leaves. This year, she just can’t do it herself.

    “Things have changed somewhat," she said. "When illnesses happen, you just don’t have the capability that you thought you had before.”

    That’s where “Aging in Place” comes in. The non-profit was founded two years ago to help seniors in the neighborhood with their daily needs. Founder Lisa Walker says she and her friends are among the seven percent of Hyattsville residents who are 65 or older. 

    “A number of my neighbors are also aound my age," Walker said. "We started talking about some of the concerns we had. Several of us had had issues with parents that were getting older and they were far away from them and didn’t know how to take care of them or get support.”

    Seniors can call Walker's organization with a request, for example, asking for someone to shop for groceries, do small chores around the house or drive them to the doctor. Then a volunteer is assigned to provide the help.

    “We have about 40 people that have signed up to be volunteers," Walker said. "About 30 of them have gone through background checks. If they’re driving, we check their motor vehicle records as well.”

    Aging in Place volunteer Sally Middlebrooks says that a review of new volunteers’ driving record and any criminal history is just as important as the training they receive.

    “We want the seniors, people we call neighbors, to be assured that they are with safe, reliable people who are also caring people,” Middlebrooks said.

    Most of the calls are for rides to the doctor.

    “They take me to all my medical appointments. Anytime I need something, I call them up," said Louise Battiste, who began using the group’s services last year. “Almost every week I have something, and they help me do what has to be done that I can’t do because I can’t see. I’m an old lady. I’m almost 90.”

    The volunteers also reap some benefits.

    “I’ve learned a lot about what I need to be thinking about myself in terms of staying connected to people, your family and friends," Walker said. "Do I stay close to them? Do I try to keep myself immersed in the community, relating to people younger than I am?”

    “I’m learning a lot about this whole process of aging in my town and in my state and in my country," Middlebrooks said. "And I'm learning, to my alarm, that it's very difficult. But I’m also meeting people who astound me with their flexibility and their sense of humor and their ability to stay very much alive despite aches and pains.”

    Not all Aging in Place volunteers are retired. Courtney Wattai, 24, is a graduate student at American University in Washington who studies caregiving and plans to have a career working with seniors.

    “That’s kind of what I want to do because I want to make sure I’m able to improve their lives," Wattai said. "I want to be very involved in their lives, not just sitting at a desk doing things. I thought this would be a good way to give tribute to my grandparents and what they had done for me and my brother."

    It makes Walker happy to see the younger generation stepping up. She hopes that’s how residents in her neighborhood will always care for each other.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.