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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora