Lifeforce in Later Years (“LiLY”) enhances the well being of our oldest community members through free- of-charge services with a corps of dedicated volunteers; brings community partners together; expands its model nationally; and raises awareness to improve the way we honor and care for the elderly.
Morningside Village, LiLY’s nationally recognized model program in Morningside Heights in Manhattan, through a cadre of skilled volunteers, is helping elderly neighbors to age comfortably in their own homes where they want to remain. In 2015, we founded a second Manhattan-based community program, West Harlem Neighbors, as well as Catskill Neighbors in upstate New York. Trained caring volunteers, who live nearby, befriend frail elderly neighbors, help to connect them with the community and needed services as well as new friendships, promoting health and happiness wherever possible.
With our experience and with requests from all over the nation, LiLY publishes free-of-charge Guidelines on its website and is mentoring leaders in other communities, e.g., in Fairfield Illinois and Solano County, California.
Through LiLY’s annual New York Citywide Celebrate Our Elders Week campaign (October 1-7), your dollars bring schools, nonprofits, public agencies and media together to advocate and promote respect, inspire the creation of programs, and increase volunteerism.
- families often live at great distances from eldest relatives,
- there are cuts in government spending on the elderly,
- there is a technology divide between generations,
- a culture of ageism is still strong, so that elders are too often forgotten unless the butt of a joke in a t.v. commercial,
- a culture where independence is highly valued and asking for help can be be difficult if not impossible,
- fear of being removed from one’s home can also prevent an elder from getting the help she/he needs,
- many seniors are living close to the poverty line, and
- there are too few geriatricians in the nation,
our oldest community members can face dire challenges when they need care.
- Services of salaried social workers who significantly provide for elders in need of connections to health care and to community and who help to procure needed equipment and health aides, such as a special wheelchair or hospital bed; they oversee volunteer recruitment, orientation, and mentoring as well as the creation of and smooth running of social groups and events and more. Each one of LiLY’s caring and committed social work staffers performs hours of work more than they are paid for!
- Co-cordinators help with weekly matching of elders with appropriate volunteers, mentoring volunteers, leading groups, such as a Vocal Music Group in West Harlem, a French Language Conversation group in Morningside Heights or a Lunch Group in the Catskill Mountains, and more.
- Miscellaneous goods and services directly provided to seniors, such as food for events, for festive activity group meetings, and for those returning from rehab or hospital, such as 101 year old Doris C. She lives alone and, after returning home from a short hospital stay, was surprised and relieved when a volunteer appeared at her door with a food basket and good spirits. LiLY pays for coffee, tea, crumpets, and supplies for jewelry-making, crochet and other groups that bring together a dozen elders at a time, who look forward to their weekly meet-ups with new friends who become old friends. LiLY also has replaced beds, buys ice packs, bandaging and even emergency personal items when needed.
- Community events for elders, such as an October gala, that celebrate and validate the contributions made by them and brings them to the attention of those of all generations.
- Semi-annual Volunteer Recognition events.
- Purchase of media to promote LiLY’s Celebrate Our Elders Week awareness campaign. An example is the 30 second video for national exposure:: Here, a link to the COEW Video.
- Our organization’s overhead – including salaries – is less than 10% of our total annual budget. We focus spending on the elderly we serve!
- Support an elder just home from hospital, by having a volunteer on hand to pick up prescriptions, shop for food and hold a hand.
- Clean apartments of elders who can no longer use a vacuum cleaner and mop.
- Help with practical emergencies, like bringing over an ice-pack or even changing a lightbulb in the dark of night.
- Help prioritize correspondence, make calls, write letters when technology can be confusing.
- Accompany elders on trips to the doctor for treatment.
- Fill the refrigerator when money is scarce; and connect a senior with helping organizations like Meals on Wheels.
- Replace a 50 year old mattress.