Matney: Spiritual care for the elderly | VailDaily.com

Matney: Spiritual care for the elderly

4 Eagle Senior Care is a local, faith-based, nonprofit ministry supported by various local churches and other organizations and individuals. 4 Eagle Senior Care brings volunteer services and inter-denominational spiritual care to the elderly and their families in the Vail and Eagle River Valley.

4 Eagle Senior Care chaplains provide confidential pastoral and professional visits for depression, grief, loneliness, and end-of-life issues. 4ESC volunteers deliver meals, do senior workdays to wash windows, rake leaves and do other light yard and housework and provide limited transportation, weekly prayer and Bible study groups, a monthly senior worship service and in-home and institutional visits.

In addition to these and a dozen other programs and ministries, we are beginning two new programs: Senior Advocates and Sharing Is Caring. Please join us for a complimentary lunch and volunteer orientation meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 4 Eagle Ranch, which is located at 4098 State Highway 131 in Wolcott. The programs are for anyone interested in volunteering to help senior adults.

Please RSVP to me at 970-390-0731. Here is a little information on each of the programs.

Senior Advocates

Senior Advocate volunteers will visit seniors and their families and build relationships of trust and compassion by listening and learning about their needs. Then, with the senior’s permission, we will mobilize pastors, volunteers and professionals from our churches and communities to meet these needs.

Senior Advocate volunteers will receive training to help understand the unique physical, emotional, spiritual, social and informational needs of senior adults. In collaboration with other organizations, we will help the senior and their families navigate the complex legal, medical, financial and social landscape associated with aging.

Molly Fiore, with SpeakUp ReachOut, will talk about their programs to help Senior Advocates identify signs of a mental health crisis and suicide risk among senior adults. Brenda Reyes, a community health worker, will be sharing her experiences and insights in advocating for seniors with a wide variety of needs.

Donna Boyum, 4ESC administrative assistant, will share some of her touching and heartwarming experiences working as a medical advocate with seniors during the last months of their lives. Beverly Christiansan, 4ESC chaplain, will talk about the importance of listening to seniors to learn about their needs

Sharing Is Caring

If you had the opportunity to share your hard-earned wisdom with younger generations, what would you want to pass on to them? That is the question we’re asking seniors, 60 years of age or older. Sharing Is Caring is a program designed to let senior adult volunteers share their life lessons with students, young adults and men’s and women’s groups.  

As I’ve asked seniors what they would like to pass on to younger generations, I’ve been amazed at the wide variety of topics they’ve listed. Some of the topics have been: How grandparents, grandchildren and younger people can communicate with each other better, the importance of protecting one’s health, choosing a mate wisely, money management, never giving up on your dreams, keeping God at the center of your life, and the importance of volunteerism and the importance of patriotism. Shirley Welch, program director at Caregiver Connection, will be sharing at the luncheon on Wednesday about how seniors and younger people can communicate better with each other.

One unique aspect of the Sharing Is Caring program will be taking senior adults into the Eagle County jail and engaging the inmates in conversations around these important topics. Hopefully, the wisdom and insights gained by seniors through a lifetime of living will inspire inmates to hope and dream for a better future for their own lives. Sarah Kennedy, the volunteer programs coordinator for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center, will be talking about the requirements for taking our Sharing Is Caring program into the jail.

Please join us for a complimentary meal and meeting this coming Wednesday. We will share more details and answer questions concerning our programs and ministries. Volunteers of all ages are needed to share God’s love and care with seniors and their families.

You can learn more about 4 Eagle Senior Care at http://4eaglefoundation.org/senior-care/  and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/4eagleseniorcare/.

Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at pastordanmatney@hotmail.com.