OUR STORIES

30+ Years of Dedication

For over 30 years, the names Yale and Judy have been synonymous with ElderHelp. “I see the mission as an urgent need,” cites Judy. That’s why we stay so involved. “Seniors deserve to be able to stay in their homes, to be independent, and to stay safe. We see ElderHelp as a way to make that happen.”

Growing up as an only child, Judy was inspired by the older adults in her life. “I’ve always had a great appreciation for seniors. They offer a lot of wisdom and great perspective—something you don’t always have when you’re younger.”

Judy’s passion has been magnified through her work on behalf of local seniors through ElderHelp. Currently serving as Advisory Board Chair, her advocacy through 30+ years of volunteer service has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of San Diego seniors and their families. Honored as ElderHelp’s Ambassador of the Year in 2014, Judy continues to serve as a champion for older adults in our community.

Yale shares Judy’s passion and can’t wait to resume duty as a Seniors A Go Go Volunteer when it’s safe to do so. “It feels good to drive people where they need to go. It’s a chance to talk and a chance to learn something new. That’s important for all of us.”

On behalf of all who benefit and serve with you, we thank you, Yale & Judy!

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors.

Sharing a Special Bond

“I really don’t do that much,” shares the very humble Kristin Schwall.  But in fact, her one hour a week at the grocery store makes a world of difference to Eloise and her husband, Ron.  Eloise is blind, and Ron has a chronic health condition, so going to the grocery store is a risk and challenge.

About a year ago, Kristin had some extra time on her hands.  “I’d just become an empty nester,” shares Kristin. “After attending the orientation, I liked the idea of grocery shopping. I’m going to the store for myself anyway.  Why not help someone else in the process?”  Kristin was matched with Eloise, and before COVID-19 they shopped together every other week.  “I marvel at her ability to pick the best veggies and having all of the product brands memorized,” smiles Kristin.  “Now with COVID guidelines, Eloise emails me her shopping list, and I shop for her.  She’s super tech savvy. I text her receipt total as I leave the store, and she tapes a check to rolling carts on her doorstep. I fill the carts with her groceries, and she brings them inside after I leave. It’s a great system.”

Kristin adds, “But it’s really lonely shopping without her.  The first time I called her from the store, I realized how much I really miss our conversations.  We’ve become friends.  I also realize how much being with her makes me feel better.  But for now, this is working, and it makes me feel good to know she has what she needs to stay safe in her home.

Photographer’s note:

Their bond is almost palpable.  Using our long-distance lens, we captured Kristin sharing a few special moments with Eloise.  She sees only Kristin’s shadow through the window, but they both have their cell phones out and enjoy catching up on their pets, their families, and their friendship.

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors like Eloise.

ElderHelp Delivers Hope

​“You just bring a bright sunshine to my heart,” shares Peter. “Things have been so hard through this pandemic, and I’m so worried about going out. And I don’t have to because of all the nutritious food ElderHelp delivers. I’m loving the frozen meals.” It’s important to Peter to eat healthy. He’s on a transplant list and wants to make sure he’s in the best possible shape when he is called. In fact, it was while chatting with a fellow dialysis patient that Peter learned about ElderHelp.

In mid-March, when our world changed forever, many stores offered senior shopping hours, but the most vulnerable were still at risk. ElderHelp quickly expanded its grocery shopping service to include safe doorstep delivery by vetted volunteers, converting office space into a food pantry. Now delivering over 1,500 pounds of food and supplies weekly, ElderHelp supports more than 900 seniors living independently in their own homes. In addition to pantry delivery, ElderHelp provides transportation to essential medical appointments, daily check-in calls, rent relief advocacy, and more. Onboarding over 120 new volunteers since March, ElderHelp wraps seniors in the arms of a caring community.

“I’m just so appreciative of all you do,” shares Peter. I felt like for a while no one cared. Now, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that I can be home and be healthy. My whole outlook has changed because I really see what’s good in people. I’m astounded by it, really. I can’t thank you enough.”

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors like Peter.

My Home is Where I Want to Be

When Valerie moved to San Diego to be closer to her family, she hoped to find a new circle of friends. “But at 92, it’s not easy,” shares Valerie. “With the pandemic, it’s even harder.” But Valerie’s outlook is sunny thanks to ElderHelp. “With macular degeneration, I don’t drive any more, but ElderHelp has been a godsend—taking me for eye treatments and calling to check in. Your volunteers are all so considerate. It’s like they can’t do enough. My home is where I want to be. It’s a place I enjoy,” shares Valerie. “I feel safe here, and I don’t have to be on anyone else’s time clock. I don’t want to be treated special or differently just because I’m elderly. I just want to be treated cordially. Thanks to ElderHelp, I am.”

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors like Valerie.

Creating Cultural Connections

This cultural couple came to San Diego more than 10 years ago to be near their daughter, who is a professor at UCSD. Born, raised, and educated in India, they both exhibit the gentle demeanor of their country. As sophisticated citizens of the world, they led prosperous lives on multiple continents, and now they’ve made San Diego their home. Both in their 80’s, they’ve developed some physical frailties and have a bit of trouble getting around. In 2012, they learned of ElderHelp, and we’ve been making their lives easier ever since. Through Seniors A Go Go they get to their doctor’s appointments, singing the praises of the “unfailingly professional and caring service” from their volunteer drivers. They have a regular volunteer grocery shopper and occasionally call us for extra support. Last year they were faced with the daunting task of moving to a new apartment. ElderHelp’s volunteers stepped in to help with the heavy lifting to make sure they were comfortable and safe in their new place. With grateful smiles, they share that our volunteer tradition in this country is rare in the world, and ElderHelp volunteers are the best of the lot.

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors.

Living Independently…with Dignity

Suzanne* called ElderHelp eight years ago needing rides to her grandson’s elementary school so she could volunteer. Our Seniors A Go Go drivers made sure she got to the school on time, and then she’d take the bus home. But everything changed when she slipped and fell last December. She injured her back and needed weekly physical therapy. “I wasn’t sure I could make it on my own anymore, so I started looking at nursing homes and even had a room picked out.” But thanks to the encouragement and reliable transportation from ElderHelp volunteer, Vivian, Suzanne’s outlook changed. “I started feeling better, and I could feel my self-esteem coming back. Vivian stayed through my appointments and was a listening ear on the way home.” Although Suzanne has family close by, she values her independence. “I love knowing I can take care of myself” she tells us. “Because of ElderHelp, I’m doing it!”

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors like Suzanne*.

Opening her home…and her heart

Jane has claimed San Diego as her home for almost all her life. But when you talk to her, you’ll hear some Tennessee, where she spent her entire childhood. Jane is a life scientist and a veterinarian. When Jane’s father died, she moved in with her mother to be a family caregiver, but balancing full-time work with full-time caregiving proved to be a daunting task. Discouraged with the quality of hired services, Jane came upon ElderHelp’s HomeShare program. With two extra bedrooms, Jane could exchange a comfortable room in her home for daily support for her mother. ElderHelp’s coordinators found the perfect roommates and executed service agreements for more than 10 years while her mother was alive. But it doesn’t end there. Not wanting to live alone after her mother passed away, Jane has continued the matching arrangement with ElderHelp. Because of her love of animals, she welcomes home seekers with pets. She’s had only one misgiving when a prospective renter asked about bringing not only her dog but also her snakes and frogs. Thanks to a sizable aquarium, the renter (and her menagerie) were welcomed!

Click here to learn more about how you can help.

Little things Make a Difference

When Ginger* retired from her nursing career in the late 1990’s, she joined ElderHelp’s volunteer team.  She was matched with Gladys, and together they enjoyed trips around town, stopping at the grocery store or window shopping at the mall.  Ginger reflects, “I remember taking Gladys shoe shopping for her birthday.  She had received a little extra cash, and we were ready to celebrate.  We bought the shoes and a cake and stopped for a fast food hamburger.   It was a great day until it came time to cut the cake.  There is no way to cut a cake at a fast food restaurant!  It was pretty messy, but we managed. We sure did laugh about that, though.”

Fast forward to today and Ginger is now laughing with a volunteer match of her own.  “I don’t drive anymore,” reflects Ginger, “but transportation was always one of my biggest projects. Seniors like their independence and ElderHelp’s volunteers provide it. Last week after Rachel took me to church, we stopped on the way home for a bunch of bananas. It’s little things like that that make such a difference. I just appreciate that she takes the time to help. ElderHelp was there when I wanted to lend a hand, and now they’re here for me when I need one.”

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors like Ginger*.

Paying It Forward

Anne and John have donated an aggregate 30 years of volunteer service to ElderHelp and were recently honored at Essence of Life with our Volunteer Spotlight Award. Anne was a librarian in Coronado when she saw an ad in the local newspaper for grocery shopping help needed for seniors. As a young adult who had left home, she watched her siblings care for their elderly mom, and in these later years she feels volunteering at ElderHelp is a symbolic way to take her turn in caring for seniors.

Watching Anne in action, and recalling his mother’s volunteer work, John knew he’d like to help too. So he started making RUOK calls to our clients one morning each week. That was fulfilling, but he found his real calling when he started helping with home repairs and garden maintenance. As years went by, John realized that there were hazards in some of the residences he visited. So he created a home safety inspection list and started making home modifications to reduce the risk falls in the home. He’s gone on to train a handy group of volunteers whose skillful dedication results in ElderHelp clients having a 10% lower incidence of falls than the average San Diego senior.

Recently, Anne has found her niche by driving seniors to doctor’s appointments and social engagements. She delights in conversation and the friendships made along the way.
And this dedicated couple has no intention of slowing down. They know they make a difference to this special population and to ElderHelp with the idea that paying it forward is just the right idea for all of us.

Click here to learn more about how you can help seniors.

*Client names and images are changed to protect their privacy.
ACCREDITATIONS

TESTIMONIALS
“Elder Help has helped me so much in last two years. They are invaluable to seniors. And great people in their office.”

Rosemary, ElderHelp Member

“Elder Help has helped me so much this year and last. They are a wonderful organization with wonderful staff and volunteers.”

Jan

ElderHelp Member

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3860 Calle Fortunada #101, San Diego, CA 92123

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Please note as of 4/5/2021 our new location will be

5095 Murphy Canyon Rd. #100 San Diego, CA. 92123

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