Auntie Diluviana: Volunteers sign on to Aging in Place

November 10, 2012

- AUNTIE DILUVIANA -

To those readers who have asked about the status of Hyattsville Aging in Place: I’m glad to report that on November 3, the organization officially launched its volunteer program with an orientation session for some 30 potential volunteers.

“This is the culmination of what we have been working on for the last two years,” Lisa Walker, chair of the HAP board of directors, told the crowd assembled at city hall.

Hyattsville Aging in Place was founded to help older residents of the city with activities that may enable them to live in their homes longer than they would otherwise. These activities may include transportation to doctor appointments or grocery stores; errands such as picking up items at the pharmacy or taking mail to the post office; light housekeeping; pet care or minor home repairs.

Led by Sally Middlebrooks, attendees discussed why they wanted to volunteer and told of past experiences with helping older adults. Three older Hyattsville residents shared information about their lives and current challenges.

In the past two years, HAP has established itself as a source of information on aging issues and as a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation. Once background checks for the volunteers have been completed, the organization will be ready to start taking applications from older residents of Hyattsville who want services.

The Washington area has several “villages,” as aging in place systems are called, and HAP has been in contact with them as it has built its organization. Unlike many of them, HAP is not charging fees for service. However, it asks volunteers and the neighbors they assist to contribute a $20 annual membership fee, which will go to pay for insurance and background checks (the necessary operating expenses of the organization). The group hopes to supplement the budget with grants and tax-exempt donations.

HAP also sponsors a series of informational programs for older residents and their caregivers. These have included programs on health, nutrition and elder abuse. The next one, “Caring for Caregivers,” is scheduled for Thursday, November 15, at 5:30 p.m. in the city building, 4310 Gallatin Street.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Hyattsville Aging in Place or seeking services can call HAP at 301.887.3101.

Auntie Diluviana is an occasional column that shares the insights of members of Hyattsville Aging in Place, an organization dedicated to helping seniors stay in their homes and remain active in the community. It is edited by Molly Parrish.