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Serving Our Seniors was formed as a non profit Organization that provides all of its help and services and gifts for Free to any Senior Citizen that either lives in a nursing home or is living at home, alone. This Foundation was formed in rememberence of my Father for whom as his primary care taker I was to learn so much about the lack of quality living for our seniors in nursing homes. I also learned that most "shut ins" are found with no food in the refrigerator, showing a lack of hygene, requiring, emediate medical attention and not on any medication that could help them with their cognitive thinking. Often they don't even know how to apply for medicare and medicaid. S.O.S. advertises on the local community channel that everything we do and provide is free, so when we get calls from people telling us about shuts ins, or they call us themselves, its a long road, but a very rewarding one. The first thing we do is buy them groceries and then get them set up with medicare and medicaid if they qualify for that. Then, as we win their trust, we try to get them to come out side with us for a haircut. If they refuse, S.O.S. has hairdressors that will come to them. Its amazing what a lift that gives them. Traditionally next we come over with several outfits for them and see if they would allow me to assist them in a shower or bath, I say Me because I am very accustomed to this from my Dad, I would not expect that from volunteers. When they allow us to, S.O.S. has a housekeeper come in and often times an exterminator..our final journey is to get them to Drs. appointments to see if it is at all possible for them to continue to live alone with our help. At that point we commit to going over twice a week plus when called. The fun part is seeing the transformation..when we can later sit in their nice clean place and watch one of their favorite movies that S.O.S. provided along with a V.C.R. that S.O.S.had donated to it. The times you cook for them..and if you stick around..you'll see thetime they will either cook for you or agree to go out to dinner with you and to a movie. S.O.S. pays for all gas that volunteers use and any and all entertaining costs. If a volunteer is alittle financially short themselves, S.O.S. could pay you a modest amount of money for your time as long as your heart is your motivation. Then there is giving those Lucky Seniors who have caretakers, a "time out" the more easy we make it on them to keep Mom or Pop the less likely that they will end up in a nursing home. Finally, our work in nursing homes which is very important to me, personally, a volunteer for S.O.S. would go in to a nursing home and maybe start by bringing someone who looks rather sad and lonely some fresh flowers. Often times the nurses, when not busy are only to happy to tell you which seniors never have a visitor. We always start with them if possible, but eventually we will come to know every resident (at various levels) in each nursing home that we patronize. When S.O.S. finds the patients full of dispair, I could tell you so many sad stories but I won't, because S.O.S. is about CHANGE. It's about giving back the dignity that so many of our elders lost. Ya know we all feel horrified when a natural disaster takes innocent peoples homes and loved ones and forces them to live in a strange place with NONE OF THEIR THINGS well do you realize that is what we do to our seniors when we pt them in nursing homes? They have lost their home, usually they have lost their life time mate, and somehow all their treasures which held all their memories are gone..no more scrap books, none of the things they loved to collect..and their life consists of alot of pills, sleeping, bland meals, and looking at the ceiling and crying. Actually praying for death. I believe that is because some nursing homes treat our four fathers and mothers like an "End-Of-Life" room number. But in reality these folks have another 20 years to live if they will it..I know that..because my Dad was getting out the following week to live with me in a new home I got for Us and a daytime companion that was going to stay with him, and all of a sudden, my Dad was the happiest guy in the world. We didn't get our 20 years, we did however get two weeks before his operation was scheduled and guess what? In just two weeks he was out of diapers and back into his fruit of the looms..he never again used the wheel chair they kept him hooked to, only a walker, and we went out to dinner so many times, went to the beach, watched sunsets and sunrises..and once getting him his own primary physician Dad was taken off of alot of Meds that the physician felt were totally unwaranted..so all of a sudden, Dad and I were watching movies and he was telling me how it was gonna end..and he'd be right! Then there was the morning before his operation when I walked into the kitchen and the refrigerator door was open, so I said good morning to Dad's companion, but low and behold, it was DAD. No walker, just got out of bed walked over to thefrig and poured a glass of orange juice. Thats when I asked him, "Dad, if you could do all this again in two weeks why didn't you in the nursing home?" His answer taught me alot..He said, "To tell you the truth I didn't think you were really gonna beable to earn enough money to pay for a companion for me every day plus get me a hospital bed and get a house new for handicaps, I just didn't think you could do it, so I figured I was stuck there and I lostmy will to do anything. I never spoke to anyone (which everyone there will attest to), and I just stop caring about anything but DIEING. That of course made me feel very sad, but when I asked him now how he felt..he said..well my thum hurts xxxxbut I've never felt better in my life..Lets go out and get some scallops. Sad to say, that was to be my Father's last meal. So S.O.S. was formed as an outlet for taking my pain and turning it into other's gain! And its working..because so many in the nursing home share similar feelings..so S.O.S. gets them back to living not dieng. We get them haircuts, clothes, their favorite movies, music, large print books on subjects of interst to them, jig saw puzzles for the vision impaired..but we also take their picture, have them take ours, ask them who else they would like us to photo graph and we start new scrap books for the significance that this is still but another chapter in their lives..live it! And when they find out S.O.S. is coming to see them twice a week, and if they have permission to leave the facility I even take them to look at the ocean, drive them down main street, Park my car, get their wheel chair out, and push them into various gift shops when they see something they admire, S.O.S.INC. buys it for them, so they start collecting pretty things again. S.O.S. is also always on the look for any of these seniors who look or speak to us of abuse, so we can get in touch with the proper agencies. If not us, then who? I've even learned what to do when the agencys do nothing about the complaint or come back with, "not enough evidence." And well by the time I hit the nursing home since I have used up most of my money and am now receiving gracious donations, I so hope that Granny Camera's will be in. That's it potential volunteer's, I've got way more people who need help then I have people to get to them, so I leave you withthe words of our Lord, "When you do for the least of them, you do for ME." God Bless
S.O.S. honors seniors so much that we will do anything, go anywhere,to be of assistence. If they need company, we provide it. Groceries, first time, we purchase them and then get them enrolled with medicare and maybe medicaid. If a senior is Lucky enough to have a care taker, we will provide the care taker with "time outs"..and so much more,,and the best part is our time, gifts, expenses are always FREE OF CHARGE.
- Diane Azevedo-Young
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