Wednesday, April 24, 2024

LEADERSHIP: TeleCare -- Care for the Elderly Living Alone

 I was at the Senior Center this morning and heard an amazing story. 

Yesterday was a very windy day. D's husband died some years ago so she lives alone in the home they lived in for about 60 years. She is still able to take care of her house and yard, though it takes more time to get it all done than it used to. 

She went out to mow her lawn, got the mower out of the shed, and started mowing. At about 3 pm she ran out of gas. She left her mower and went to the shed to get the gas tank. While she was there, a gust of wind slammed the shed door shut and locked it. D turned on the light and looked around the small shed with no windows and a cement floor. She banged on the door whenever she thought someone might be close enough to hear it, but nobody came. 

The great blessing for D was that she had hope. Why? Because in our community the public school has a TeleCare program. Every morning at about 8 am, elementary students call elderly people living alone to simply ask how they are doing and if they need anything. It is not a long conversation, but it is an important one.

Thanking God that it was not very cold at night lately, D knew about how long she would be there. She swept the floor and did the few odd jobs in the shed she had been putting off. Then she gathered what she could so that she didn’t have to sit on the cold cement floor all night. She found a car creeper, a plastic bag, and an old towel. It would be a long night, but she would be off the cold floor. All she could do now was to wait and pray. It was a great opportunity to have a long chat with the Lord. 

D knew that at 8 am the next morning she would not answer the phone and somebody would come. Sure enough, after a long night of looking at the crack under the door for some light, the young student called and when D didn’t answer they called her sister to let her know. The sister called D’s grandson and he went over, saw the lawnmower sitting where it shouldn't be and, after a few bangs on the door, found her in the shed. Yes, she was cold, but she was also thanking God for TeleCare and the annoyance that came with being home every morning at 8 am to take that call. She would never complain about it again. 

My very small community has a very small school system, but when you're small you can do things that may challenge larger schools. For years the elementary kids in the school have participated in the TeleCare program. It's simply part of the curriculum. What a blessing for the elderly folks in this area who live alone, but in their own homes. TELECARE -- think about it for your church or school. It doesn't take much time to make sure your elderly neighbors are okay. 

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