When the earthquake of a catastrophic magnitude hit Haiti in January, photographs and reports of injured Haitians inspired relief efforts across America. Shortly after the disaster, local senior service agency AGE teamed up with Medical Bridges, a Houston-based a nonprofit organization that distributes donated medical supplies to developing nations.

In the aftermath of January 2010’s earthquake, Haitian relief workers and doctors lacked the necessary durable medical equipment for hundreds of thousands of injured citizens. With the help of Becca Wadlinger, University of Houston PhD candidate and former AGE staff member, AGE has sent critical pieces of durable medical equipment—walkers, wheelchairs, etc—to assist in the relief effort. AGE collects these pieces of safety equipment as part of The Lending Closet program, which gives gently used wheelchairs, walkers and shower-chairs to low-income or underinsured seniors and people with disabilities.

In late February, Medical Bridges coordinated the international delivery of a 40-ft ocean-freight container destined for a Haitian port. “It was an ambitious, hands-on relief project,” Becca Wadlinger notes, “but I knew AGE would be willing to help, and I knew that Medical Bridges would be happy to receive equipment to fill a container. It was really a matter of connecting the dots and getting the equipment to those who need it.”

The donated equipment will be used in the first clinic that is rebuilt in Port-au-Prince. This is the fourth time that AGE has donated excess durable medical equipment to international aid—the Caregiver Resource Center has also teamed up with other nonprofit groups to send equipment to Mexico, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.

It’s not too late for you to help too! Join AGE in supporting local seniors by donating your gently used wheelchairs, walkers, canes and more to The Lending Closet! Drop by our office at the Historic AGE Building at 3710 Cedar Street.

Haiti’s Elderly: What About Them?

From the Huffington Post

Anderson Cooper of CNN, reporting from Haiti on Wednesday night, said, “Wherever you are, hug a loved one close and thank God you are not in Port-au-Prince tonight.”

I’d add, “that you’re not an old person trying to cope in Port-au-Prince tonight”.

We don’t think about what it means to be old when a crisis like this hits. Imagine what it’s like when it’s hard to get through an average day — and now you’ve got to stand in line for hours for medical care, walk miles for fresh water, or sleep rough. Some 800,000 Haitians are over 60. Most of these older people live in extreme poverty and many of them have lost their homes and loved ones. Immediate needs for older Haitians and their families include shelter, food, water and medical attention–including measures to prevent the spread of infection due to the hot temperatures on the island.

Read more at The Huffington Post here.

Learn more about organizations working to help the elderly abroad:

Help Age
Help the Aged
AARP Foundation