Hi, my name is Gretchen Lewis. I am a senior at University of Texas at Austin, studying Human Development & Family Sciences. This semester I am volunteering at Elderhaven in order to fulfill a class requirement and receive a great experience with working for a nonprofit organization. Although I was initially unaware of what the Elderhaven program consisted of, I now think it is a great opportunity for elders to remain active, physically and mentally. From personal experience, after my grandpa passed away, my grandma was left alone in a huge 5-bedroom house all alone. She only lived for a couple more months until she also passed on. The evening of the night she passed in her sleep, she told a little 7 year old girl, a family friend of ours that would check in on her that she was “ready to be with grandpa.” It is hard to home alone with nothing to do in a big empty house, and I think Elderhaven helps with this solitude. This program allows the caretakers to still work, run errands, etc. while they feel safe that their loved ones are being taken care of and watched over. We are able to offer physical and mental stimulations to the elders, rather than they possibly sleeping or staring at the television all day. Research has proved that keeping elders active and thinking adds years to their lives, and helps them maintain their mental capabilities and mobility.
I look forward to interning at Elderhaven for this semester and learning so much thru others’ stories. Please keep in touch, because I will be blogging weekly about my experiences.