Women Recognized for Helping the Elderly Live in Their Homes Longer

New Yorker, Irene Zola, has been recognized as a hero by CNN for her work with the elderly. After losing her mother in a nursing home that she felt was ignoring her mother, she decided to find a way to help seniors in her own community.

She began researching the senior population and how their needs were being met and found a solution in her own backyard. Zola started Morningside Village in 2009, an initiative that pairs local volunteers with the elderly to assist them with their day-to-day needs. Volunteers range in age from teens to active seniors and they assist with everything from grocery shopping to going on walks.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 40 million people older than 65 live alone. A number that is expected to grow rapidly as baby boomers reach that demographic. Morningside Village is just one initiative of Zola's nonprofit, S.O.S., Support Our Seniors. In addition to its efforts to improve the quality of elder care, the group hosts an annual awards event to honor older adults and is working with educators to create high school and college courses to increase the awareness of the community to the needs of the elderly

Currently there are about 50 volunteers are tending to the needs of 27 elders through the program. Still an active volunteer herself, Zola has turner her neighbors into family and brought her community together. She said she hopes to see Morningside Villages pop up across the country and plans to help those who want to replicate the program. For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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