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The influence of seniors


April 4, 2019

Growing up, I had the influence of many seniors. Until I was 14, I had three great-grandmothers living, and until I was 51, I had a grandfather living. But the greatest influence in my life from a senior was by far my great-grandmother on my father’s side. We called her Grandmother. She was 68 when I was born, and I was 33 when she passed away. I always knew I was her favorite, although I am sure my sisters and cousins would say they were. Looking back, I realize that she was a strong woman. She was always surrounded by family and friends, and lived independently into her 90s. Grandmother drove herself until she was about 92 (of course, I didn’t realize at the time that she probably shouldn’t have been), and this was around Atlanta!

Grandmother taught me many things. She helped me read and she encouraged my love of music. She wrote letters to me and I wrote letters to her, even though we only lived about 30 minutes apart. She taught me love, respect, compassion, and belonging. She taught me to be a strong, independent woman. But she was never isolated or alone.

When I reflect on Grandmother’s life as a senior, and then look around me in my role at Senior Resources, I can’t help but be moved by the difference in my Grandmother’s life and some of our client’s lives. Most of our Meals on Wheels clients do not have the family and community support system that my Grandmother had. Often our Meals on Wheels recipients see only one person a day…the volunteer who is delivering their meal. But for the volunteer, they would be alone all day, every day. Most of our in-home care clients are also homebound, alone, and isolated. We provide the personal care, along with companionship, that allows them to remain independent in their homes.

My hope is that all seniors have the ability and choices that they need to remain independent as long as possible and as long as they desire, just as my Grandmother did. All our programs, not just Meals on Wheels and in-home care, foster and promote independence. Our Wellness Center program allows seniors to get out of their homes, have a hot nutritious lunch at our senior center, and socialize with their peers. The Foster Grandparent program gives academically at-risk children the same loving, supportive care that my Grandmother gave me. It provides children unconditional love and help to improve their reading skills so that they know they are not alone in their academic challenges, while allowing the senior to give back to their community. Our Senior Companion program pairs active, engaged seniors with socially isolated seniors for companionship, so that they are not alone.

Some of our programs provide seniors with the most basic human need to maintain health — food — while other programs provide seniors with another important aspect in maintaining health and independence — social interaction.

Simply put, our programs let seniors know they are not alone. We have the help and support of so many in our community in meeting the needs of seniors, from volunteers, to Board members, to all those who give generously to Senior Resources. It takes all of us to meet the significant need of seniors in our community. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the past, and please consider donating or volunteering to help us continue to meet their needs.

— by Pam Dukes, Executive Director

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