Most days Ana Gres sits at her kitchen table pouring over weighty Polish books. Born and raised in Poland, she survived the German occupation and the atrocities that came with it.
She studies encyclopedia and history volumes for references to members of her ancestry. She has published a book, We Survived the Horrors of WWII, based on her research, interviews with her siblings and her own memoirs.
But today it’s Thursday morning. That means Carol, from Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County, is visiting.
Carol has been Ana’s caregiver since 2013. Ana has limited mobility and no remaining family. She would otherwise be homebound and isolated much of the time. Carol is a lifeline for Ana.
But their relationship goes much deeper. Just months before Carol began working with Ana she lost her Polish immigrant parents and she missed them terribly.
So, it was no accident that the Nurse Case Manager at Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County put Carol and Ana together. She knew both of them well, having conducted a site visit with Ana to evaluate her needs and a thorough assessment of Carol as a potential caregiver.
This Thursday morning, Carol and Ana laugh as they share their mothers’ perogie recipes and sing Polish Christmas carols. Carol insists that she gets more out of her weekly visits than Ana. As St. Francis observed: “it is in giving that we receive.”
Neighbors Helping Neighbors, like Carol, provide regular contact through phone and home visits, transportation to medical appointments, picking up groceries and prescriptions, and even light help around the home.
While caregivers freely offer their time and talent, there are many resources required to sustain this complex network of 450 caregivers who quietly and humbly serve some 415 care-receivers.
Our case manager and program directors carefully assess each volunteer and care-receiver, using this information to make assignments, and monitor each case.
Our caregivers are prepared for service through, not only their faith, but also professional instruction. They receive initial health and safety training, as well as ongoing support and education on pertinent topics ranging from elder abuse to hoarding behaviors.
Support the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program.