The Main Stream

Aug 16, 2012 2:07 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Volunteer group helps elderly neighbors stay in their homes

TUCSON - For 15 years volunteers in the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood have helped the elderly remain independent.

From transportation and meals out, chores and companionship, all services are donated by volunteers.

For Irene Olson mobility isn't what it used to be.

That's where volunteer Kay Anderson comes in. "I just want to pay it forward a little bit, and have some credits out there when I need help."

The pair go to the market every other week.

Irene Olson says, "I wouldn't be able to shop because of my eyes. I had to give up driving."

Irene says a friendship has bloomed, it started with a mutual love of rhubarb pie and a card game. "We play poker regularly, I don't know if I'll be investigated on this," she laughs.

From poker to dominos. Bernice Kyle and Eva Ervin have a regular game.

"I look forward to every Tuesday afternoon, one o'clock," Bernice says smiling. She's a volunteer.

"It means that I have someone to talk to at least one afternoon a week. I spend a lot of lonely hours here by myself," Eva says the weekly visits allow her to remain self sufficient and feel young.

"Although I've celebrated my 99th birthday, I can still stay here my myself," she said.

"Lots of laughs, we have a good time together," says Bernice. She is one 62 volunteers, helping 47 clients.

To participate in the program you must live within the boundaries of the Old Fort Lowell neighborhood.

Rillito River on the North, Pantano wash to the East, Grant Road on the South and Swan Road to the West.

Several neighborhoods around Tucson have this program. Fort Lowell was the first, and the others are modeled after it.

For more information on how to get involved contact the Pima Council on Aging.

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