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.

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