Helping the Elderly
Stories Of Good People Helping the Elderly
Joseph Zhong, a 17-year-old violinist, has been bringing joy to residents in retirement homes in Elkhorn, Nebraska, with his musical group, “Joy of Music.” The young musicians hold concerts at assisted living communities and retirement centers across the Metro area.
The in-person concerts stopped, however, when retirement communities shut their doors to outside visitors in wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But this didn’t stop Zhong from continuing to drop off colorful gift baskets each month to the retirement homes and assisted living facilities.
Zhong and his friends wanted to find a way to continue reaching seniors with their music. So, the musicians decided to replace their in-person concerts with virtual performances. In July, the musicians posted an Independence Day-themed performance on YouTube for residents to view.
Zhong said he wants to help seniors because he feels indebted to his grandmother, who helped raise him. Zhong believes that many of the older adults have helped to build the community. So, Zhong said it’s necessary to give back to them.
Mowing Seniors’ Lawns For Free Helps Brothers Win Challenge
Two Westland, Michigan, brothers took on a special challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic and completed the mission. Their reward: A lawnmower, a weed wacker, and a blower.
Sam, 16, and Hunter, 13, participated in the “50 Yard Challenge,” a nationwide movement to mow lawns for older adults, people with disabilities, veterans, and anyone who cannot mow their own lawn. Since April, the brothers have mowed 51 yards without charging a fee for their service.
Hunter said it’s “heartwarming” to help people who cannot go anywhere during the pandemic. Sam said his new “friends forever” appreciated the work the brothers do for them. The brothers learned about the 50 Yard Challenge through their parents, Kyle and Keri, who followed the challenge’s creator, Rodney Smith, Jr., on social media.
Smith, a Huntsville, Alabama, resident, issued a call nationwide for young people to mow 50 lawns of people in their community who need help. The mowers who completed the challenge would receive a visit from Smith, who would award their prizes.
Smith founded the non-profit, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, in 2015, after mowing the lawn of an elderly man that he did not know. Smith said he saw the man struggling to mow his lawn, so he pulled over and mowed his yard without charging a fee. That night, Smith decided to mow lawns for free for the elderly, disabled, single parents, and veterans in Huntsville.
Smith visited Michigan in July to give Sam and Hunter their lawn equipment. Besides the Michigan teenagers, 50 others completed the challenge, and about 1,000 young people are still mowing their way to completion.
Technology Course Brings Seniors With Attitude Into the Digital Age
Seniors in Montgomery County, Maryland, have an attitude—but it’s a good one that can change their lives. These seniors signed up for “Aging with Attitude,” a free class on how to use technology. The class is sponsored by Senior Planet, a program that helps people over 60 learn computer basics and develop or enhance their technology skills.
The students are learning how to use online tools such as CashApp, a mobile banking app, and Skype, which allows virtual visits with family and friends.
Technology has played a big role during the COVID-19 health crisis which has prevented many seniors from leaving their homes and having in-person visits with family. Seniors who not only have access to technology, and know how to use it, have been able to stay connected and informed during the health crisis.
Extensive research shows that 20-30 percent of the older adult population experience isolation, which can impact a senior’s physical and psychological health, said Dr. Thomas Kamber, founder of the Older Adults Technology Services, which operates the “Aging with Attitude” class.
Rather than giving in to loneliness and isolation, the Montgomery County seniors are learning how to use technology to improve their quality of life in the digital age.
Dardanelle Senior Who Helped Other Seniors Dies of COVID-19
Kay Parker spent her entire working life helping out at nursing homes. Even at the age of 73, the Dardanelle, Arkansas, resident continued to work with the administration offices of nursing homes around town.
When COVID-19 hit, Parker stayed home, wore masks, and had other people shop for her. Although Parker took precautions, she somehow became infected with the coronavirus. In early June, Parker developed a fever and body aches. When Parker’s condition worsened, she was taken to the Conway Regional Medical Center. Sadly, Parker died on June 19.
Parker’s daughter, Sammye, said she was not able to see her mother at the hospital, but spoke to her by phone. According to Sammye, the last thing her mother said before she was placed on a ventilator was “tell everybody I love ‘em.”
Parker’s family members said they don’t know where she contracted the virus. There was no COVID-19 outbreak at nursing homes in Dardanelle, and Parker sheltered in place. Out of respect to Parker and others, Parker’s family encourages everyone to wear a face-covering in public.
High School Teens Create Grocery Delivery Network For Seniors
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed down schools in March, Maurice Korish and Adam Hollander, of Livingston, New Jersey, asked their rabbi what they could do to help people in quarantine. The rabbi suggested that the Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School seniors deliver food to people at the highest risk for developing COVID-19.
So, Korish and Hollander took their rabbi up on his suggestion and launched the “Deliver Together” project. The teens also began recruiting volunteers. Korish and Hollander, both gifted STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students, developed an algorithm that matched volunteers with people who needed groceries delivered. Soon, a network of volunteers was delivering groceries to residents in Essex, Morris, Union, and Somerset counties.
If that wasn’t enough, Korish and Hollander formed partnerships with the Livingston and West Orange Chesed Communities, Supporting Our Seniors in Rockaway, and The Interfaith Food Pantry of Morristown. The teens said they wanted to connect with other organizations in the area to reach as many people as possible.
Hollander, who also finds time to volunteer with the Homeless Awareness Club, said high school students may feel that they can’t make a difference during these stressful times. But, Hollander said Deliver Today gives students “an opportunity to not only make minimal impacts during a crisis but perform meaningful acts of kindness that can potentially save lives.”