Rappahannock News

‘It takes a village’ to assist seniors

- BY BONNIE PRICE LOFTON The writer lives in Woodville

In last week’s Rappahanno­ck News, readers learned that Rapp at Home went to extraordin­ary lengths to secure a refrigerat­or for Edward Williams, an elderly widower living in Woodville. I commend Patty Hardee, Addell Russell and Mary Ann Kuhn for their central roles in the e ort, as well as Mac McGrail, Jonathan NeillDore, Ellen Adams, Eric King, Donnie Johnson, and the helpful members of the veteran’s group Hero’s Bridge.

There have been other e orts to help Mr. Williams. Earlier this winter, my husband Jim Lo on (while visiting Woodville) learned that Mr. Williams — whose property is adjacent to my mother’s — had a defunct washing machine and therefore no way of washing his clothes. My mother, Wilhelmina Price, owned a machine she was not using. My husband and another neighbor, Tommy Berta, hauled that donated machine to Mr. Williams’ home where Berta removed the old washing machine and installed the working one. In addition, before my husband returned to his overseas work stint, he went grocery shopping for Mr. Williams several times, trying to adhere to Mr. Williams’ highly precise instructio­ns on what product to buy.

I also believe a pastor in Woodville, along with members of his church, has helped Mr. Williams in the past.

Rapp at Home concluded with the o en-heard saying “it takes a village” in describing the combined e orts of many people to obtain a refrigerat­or for Mr. Williams. Indeed it does take a village to support people who cannot fully care for themselves, and o en that village is wider than any of us may realize.

This situation has prompted me to ponder the risks that all of us older people (I’m 67) face as we age if we have not invested earlier in a network of relationsh­ips and mutual support. My thoughts have been informed by an excellent book I recently checked out from the Culpeper library, “The Art of Dying Well — A Practical Guide to the End of a Good Life” by Katy Butler. She advises all of us, young and old, to be intentiona­l about helping others, especially through civic organizati­ons such as Rapp at Home, and about maintainin­g positive relationsh­ips with family and friends, in order to be in a better position to receive help when we are in rm.

In my current role as the in-house overseer of care for my 96-year-old mother, I have plenty of opportunit­y to ponder these questions and to tell myself that as soon as I am able I will do a better job of living in the manner that Katy Butler suggests — that is, more closely integrated into my immediate community and more helpful to it.

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