Our mission is to improve the well-being of neglected elderly populations around the world. We aim to do this via four main approaches: 1) lobby professors and students in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other healthcare programs at universities to organize study abroad opportunities to work with the geriatric homes 2) encourage healthcare professionals to travel and volunteer with the elders 3) encourage ANYONE interested in traveling there and providing companionship and help to the elders and their caregivers, and finally 4) to provide necessities to improve their quality of life, such as toiletries, supplies, medicine and home-care equipment, etc.
Many of the elders we help have little financial capabilities for anything more than the absolute necessities, if even those. Several suffer from diseases and disabilities that make them unable to move easily and take care of themselves independently. Many of their situations could be greatly improved through extra medical and therapeutic attention. So, we focus on connecting with people around the world that are interested in providing their services to the elders. In this manner, we are able to provide therapy, attention, and companionship for the elders at no cost while the volunteers earn valuable life experience.
We encourage any healthcare professional or other persons interested in working with our cause to provide their expertise, help, and companionship to the elders and their caretakers, in any capacity possible. This way, we can work with a variety of people to improve the overall quality of living for the elders.
Jennifer Levy went to Cordoba, Argentina as a part of a 4-month trip throughout South America. Her goal was to travel while obtaining volunteer experience before returning back to the U.S. to apply to physical therapy schools. Jennifer volunteered through Fundacion AFOS in Cordoba, an organization that connected her with Asamblea Popular de los Boulevares, a community medical clinic run by a husband-and-wife, Cesar and Liliana, team. She instantly became a part of the group at the clinic, which included doctors, dentists, audiologists, and a physical therapist. Because the physical therapist was there for only limited hours per week and Jennifer wanted to maximize her therapeutic experience in Cordoba, Liliana brought her to the local church group that focused on helping those in the community who needed assistance. Through the church group, Jennifer met Maria Carmen who connected her with San Jorge Geriatrico Privado, a local private geriatric home that the church provides with food donations every week.
Immediately, Jennifer was struck by the extreme need of the elders. Their amazing caretaker, Irma, did all the cooking, cleaning and caring of the patients, with some help from a couple of ladies, her sons and her nephew. Irma worked 24/7, nonstop, for the past 25 years to support and provide care for these elders that no one else was willing to do. Irma struggles with her own disability of an enlarged-heart due to Chagas disease. When Jennifer learned this, she was amazed by the dedication and love that Irma showed to the elders and wanted to help provide any and all the assistance possible. For 4 weeks she spent every day, including weekends, at San Jorge providing assistance to some of the patients, companionship to all, reading books in Spanish to those who were blind or couldn’t read well, and giving any other help needed around the home.
She bought some basic goods for the elders with the little money that AFOS allowed for volunteers’ projects. These goods included: latex gloves and body lotion for massage therapy, resistance bands and exercise balls for physical therapy and activities, tennis balls for the leg tips of the walkers to allow for easier and smoother ambulation, and some pillows and towels. She realized not only was the geriatric home lacking toiletries and goods, but also, the roomy, yet run-down, home lacked any proper home-care equipment to aid in moving, bathing or sleeping the elders. She wished she could build them a facility that was fully-equipped with anything and everything to make their lives, and the lives of Irma and her helpers, easier and more comfortable. After a couple weeks, Jennifer gathered some of the other AFOS volunteers, power-washed all the mold and mildew off the outside of the house and gave it a new paint job.
When she left, she continued to travel to other parts of South America and work with other non-profits, but couldn’t stop thinking of Irma and her elders. When Jennifer finally returned to her home in Kent, Washington, outside of Seattle, in mid-May, she found a job and starting applying to physical therapy schools. She was back into the routine of her normal life at home, and yet the thoughts of the elders in Cordoba without therapy and extra companionship plagued her. She knew they improved, both physically and emotionally, during only her 4 weeks of providing them with attention and support. She realized that just because that trip was over, her work with the elders of the world were not, and that was how the idea and organization of “Los Abuelitos” was established.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
1. IMPROVE THE WELL-BEING AND QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE ELDERS WE WORK WITH
2. Work with colleges and universities to implement study abroad programs at their respective schools to take health care students to underserved elderly populations to provide much-needed medical attention and care
3. Provide healthcare for the elders at no cost
4. Give the opportunity to healthcare workers and healthcare students to obtain experience working in an underserved international community
5. Provide much-needed attention and companionship to these highly-neglected elderly populations by bringing volunteers of all nationalities and ages to spend time with the elders
6. Gather and collect any goods, toiletries, supplies or equipment that will improve the lives and well-being of the elders and their caretakers
7. Collect medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, bathing stools, hospital beds, handicapped bars, etc. for the home