Senior Services for Frail Elderly
Being alone never bothered 78-year-old Harriet Spree until constant bronchial
infections left her so weak she couldn't even fix herself something
to eat. "I'd lay awake at night feeling so afraid, knowing there
was no one I could ask for help," Harriet explains. Finally, a neighbor
grew alarmed over Harriet's deterioration and contacted St. Jude Medical
Center's Caring Neighbors Program, a unique community service that
provides volunteers to help frail and homebound elderly
With a goal of helping seniors maintain their independence and improve
their quality of life, volunteers assist in a variety of ways: home repairs,
grocery shopping, errands, laundry, even light housekeeping. But for many
seniors, it is the companionship – having someone to laugh with
– that is the most important benefit of this innovative program.
A volunteer began visiting Harriet each weekend to help with laundry, errands
and to be a friend. A volunteer handyman in the program made badly-needed
repairs to Harriet's house, fixing broken lights and leaky faucets,
while some high school volunteers cleared the overgrown weeds and bushes
from her yard. The effect of the regular visits and the new friendships
is obvious in the almost miraculous change in Harriet. "Just knowing
there's someone who will check on me has taken away the terror," she says.
If you know someone who might benefit from the Caring Neighbors Program
or would like to volunteer, please call (714) 446-7064.
A lack of transportation is a significant barrier for many frail elderly,
causing doctors' visits and medical care to often be missed or delayed.
St. Jude's Senior Transportation Program provides non-emergency transportation
to and from medical appointments at the medical center and affiliated
physicians' offices. This program serves as a bridge to OCTA’s
Low-income seniors can take advantage of this service by calling (714) 446-7160.