Goal Is To Keep Seniors Home Instead Of In Nursing Homes

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBS 2) — This can be a particularly tough time for the elderly. Many holiday errands are challenges for some seniors.

But as CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports, helping hands are available.

Decorating the Christmas tree used to be a fun for 71-year-Toni Lamoureux, but now the Alzheimer’s patient and her 71-year-old husband — a stroke and cancer patient — need some help.

So once a week Millicent Broderick comes in to cook, organize the household and decorate a tree — when need be. While Millicent is paid to help out, to this couple she seems more like family.

“She’s my sister and I mean that with all my heart. She makes my day great and the rest of my week great. And besides, she cooks and I don’t have to,” Toni said.

“She’s a godsend. I can’t hear. I don’t talk to Toni. Millicent comes in and talks to her,” David Meyer added.

Broderick began to work with Toni and David through an agency called Senior Helpers, whose goal is to keep the elderly in their houses rather than in nursing homes.

How do you know if there are some seniors in your life who need some help around their house? There are some telltale signs.

According to those who work with the elderly, a senior may need outside help if their household is getting dirty, they appear to be losing weight and are living alone, with no social life. The right match can make all the difference.

“I ask questions, like what are your interests? Did you play games that you no longer play anymore? Are there things you enjoyed five years ago that you’ve stopped doing? To get an idea of which of my caregivers in the pool would actually feel this need,” said Linda Siconolfi-Baez, president of Senior Helpers.

So it’s home-made chicken soup from the senior helper.

“It’s not about the money. It is something I enjoy doing. I being able to do something for someone who really needs the help? It means a lot,” Broderick said.

Clearly the feeling is mutual.

There are more than 300 franchises of Senior Helpers in 42 states. There are also many other agencies specializing in helping the elderly during the holidays.

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