Going from ‘help outer’ to ‘help needer’

written by Elva Eliason

 

I first heard about the Villages in a meeting at my Athletic Club that I attended only because I was in a gym following one of my exercise classes and I didn’t escape in time before the meeting started. Sitting there, skimming the list of services offered on the handout, I began to mentally check off all of my own personal needs:

Replace Ceiling light bulbs (My children made me promise to never get on a ladder again)

Yard Work (my left wrist, recently shattered from falling over the front yard edging onto the sidewalk, started to ache)

Transportation (immediately started wondering if I could find my car after I left the facility. I can drive, I just can’t figure out WHERE to drive.)

Check Smoke Alarms (Checking the gym skylights, I saw that the air was still hazy from the smoke of the recent wildfires…maybe the local fire fighters had other things they should be doing instead of trying to keep me safe by checking my smoke alarms.)

 

And so it went. Awareness started to sink in that somewhere I had gone from being a “help outer” to being a “help needer” and I didn’t like the change. Age has its own demands, but here was a choice that could be made to find help through a system instead of becoming a burden on your children – or on benevolent others.

 

Then the second phase of the presentation started to kick in – what can you do for others? I belong to a church that promotes volunteering in all church activities and in the Community but somehow I had become a passive giver – what would it be like instead of bringing in a food donation, I could help a person figure out how to have a steady food supply? Maybe there was more than I thought to the “Help a person learn to fish” saying.

I don’t have any great talents but I could find some things to do in the Villages list of the many practical ways to be of service to others.

And so my walk down the road to the Villages began.

Help Villages Clark County by voting with your donation to

Give More 24! @givemore24.org

 

 

As Independent as They Come

by Elva Eliason

Phyllis was as independent as they come. Well into her nineties she was never happier than when she was out bouncing along on her ride-on lawn mower taking great pride in maintaining her own yard. She loved that mower and the sense of power it gave her.

She lived just a “country road” away from her church so she drove herself to church each Sunday and here and there for local errands. She was offended if you offered to take her somewhere. “I have a car!” she would say with a mixture of annoyance and pride that you weren’t aware that she could take care of herself.

But the day came when there were too many issues for her to take care of the way she was used to doing, and she gave up the mower and the car and reluctantly left her home for a retirement center apartment. She adjusted and she found ways there to help out some of the other residents so she felt that her life still had meaning, but it never made up for the joy of living in a home full of memories of a beloved husband and family. Not long after moving to the Center, she left our world.

With the loss of her mother still fresh in her mind, Phyllis’ daughter had an immediate reaction to hearing the Villages story: “I wonder now how much longer and how much happier my mother’s life would have been if the Villages’ type of support had been there for her and she could have stayed in her home?”  Phyllis’ family will never know the answer to that question.

ADULT CHILDREN OF ELDERS! –

THINK ABOUT SUPPORTING VILLAGES CLARK COUNTY 

with your donation to GIVE MORE 24!  SEPTEMBER 21st 

Getting Old Ain’t for Sissies

by Victor Dobyns

This was a sentiment often voiced by dear Aunt Kathryn in her declining years. She had never married. Fiercely independent, she epitomized the life of someone who not only managed to provide for her own needs throughout her life, but was always able to help others less fortunate than herself. She graced our lives for 96+ years, and will always represent the model of a life well lived to me.

Kathryn was a secretary all her working years. Home ownership was a luxury she was unable to afford until her retirement at 62. She patiently furnished her new home with treasures from estate sales and 2nd hand stores. A neighbor gave her a puppy, Boots, that became her constant companion and she took in her ailing brother for his final years.

Her home was the proudest accomplishment. She delighted in hosting family and entertaining friends. As a frequent visitor, I helped her with tasks she was unable to do for herself. Neighbors, friends, and family pitched in as well.

Time took its toll and Kathryn found it more and more difficult to maintain her home. She developed mobility issues and gave up driving. Mowing the lawns, meal prep, laundry, housecleaning, transportation, made life a series of daily challenges. Her brother passed and her beloved companion, Boots, did as well. At 88 years old,

Kathryn decided to move into an independent living facility. The sale of her home and her Social Security covered costs but nothing could replace the pride and joy of living in her own home.  She made many friends in her new domicile and took advantage of the activities offered. Kathryn died in 1999.

Had Villages been around for her, she could have remained in her home for most of the rest of her life. As the organization is doing for countless others, Villages could have provided her with the services that she needed to continue to function comfortably and safely in her beloved home. Transportation, meals, activities, companionship, home maintenance and other needs that she found too difficult to handle, are provided for by Villages, for little or no cost.

Now, nearly 20 years later, I find myself experiencing some of the same difficulties Aunt Kathryn did. Gratefully, I will be able to continue to enjoy life in my own home largely because of Villages Clark County. The many services they provide for the elderly will make it possible for me to live independently for many years longer than would otherwise be possible. Villages are a godsend to elders and a significant asset to the communities it serves.

PLEASE JOIN ME  SEPTEMBER 21ST

SUPPORTING VILLAGES CLARK COUNTY – MAKE A DONATION TO GIVE MORE 24! 

River Talk Weekly article

Villages Clark County will help seniors stay in their homes

 

There are more than 75,000 seniors living in Clark County, 90% want to stay living in their homes for as long as they can, 75% cannot afford the high costs of moving into assisted living facilities.  Many of these seniors need help with simple daily chores:  light housework, errands, shopping, food preparation, yard work and rides.

 

Where do these seniors turn for help?  Many have lost their spouse, their children live out of state and their neighbors and friends have moved into senior care facilities.

 

One answer to this pressing need in our community is Villages Clark County, a new start up non-profit membership organization that relies on vetted and trained volunteers to do daily and weekly chores and help with errands.  Villages Clark County is in the planning stage and is set to open in 2017 with a lot of help from the community.

 

How can you help?  Watch for the Give More-24 campaign coming up on September 21, 2017 sponsored by the Community Foundation of SW Washington.  Donate as much as you can, but $10 will help provide rides, housekeeping and assistance to a senior right here in Washougal and Camas.  Volunteer and help the planning committee with the fundraising, publicity, outreach and other

 

Want more information?  Go to our website www.VillagesClarkCounty.org

The weekends are the worse.

This senior is home alone all day. The weekends are the worse.

 

A lonely 82 year old widow called Villages Clark County and asked when we she could become a member.

“I love my home and my neighborhood. I don’t want to move. I can pretty much take care of all my daily needs but I am very lonely. My husband died last year, my favorite neighbor went into assisted living last month and my daughter lives in Chicago. I am lonely every day but the weekends are the worse. I would dearly love to have a group of people I could join to go to a movie, farmer’s market, a free concert, anything to break up the long weekends. This would make all the difference in the world.”

 

www.VillagesClarkCounty.org/GiveMore24

Huntly

  1.  I took my elderly dog, Huntly, to the vet yesterday to check on concerns about his mobility and eyesight. The techs kindly lifted him to the exam table, cuddled him and murmured soothingly as they applied the numbing agent in his eyes. Instruments with bright lights followed as they held him securely in place. I took notes, answered medical and behavioral history questions. Discussed his prognosis. Paid the bill.

For Huntly and for me the clock ticks. On our way home I reminisced about ensuring Huntly’s wellbeing.  There is so much joy in being his companion, provider and caregiver.  We share so much; no relatives, a small circle of local acquaintances, comfortable home, a simple yet comfortable existence that has served us for many years.  And then I wonder – who will be there to help when my mobility and eyesight become compromised?

www.VillagesClarkCounty.org/GiveMore24