Nonagenarian volunteers to help younger seniors 九十多歲阿嬤志工 服務年輕老人

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 - Page 11

At the ripe old age of 91, Ho Chao-chih is one of the most enthusiastic volunteers serving at the local care center in Liouying District’s Bawong Village in Greater Tainan. She cheerfully wields a hoe to plant fruits and vegetables, which are administered to the needy. “She’s the oldest grandmother [here], and all of the people she helps are younger than her, but she’s more serious about her work than anyone.”

Last week the Tainan City Government organized an educational training course about volunteering in Hsiaying District, inviting experts to talk about skills used when serving as a volunteer. Many volunteers from care centers in Siaying, Liouchia and Liouying registered and attended the event. Attracting the most attention, however, was “elder volunteer” Ho.

Bawong Community Development Association president Peng Yue-yeh says that when the village’s care center was first established 12 years ago, the altruistic Ho began serving as a volunteer right away, helping people check their blood pressure and keeping the environment clean around the community. During the Lunar New Year and other festivals, she joins everyone in making vegetable steamed buns and bowled rice cakes, delivering them to seniors who live alone or people in need.

Ho says that staying optimistic naturally keeps you in good health. Her children have invited her to live with them, but she cannot bear to be separated from her neighbors of many years, so she still lives alone. No one has to worry about her and she even has enough energy to serve as a volunteer. She often jests, “Farming is exercise for the others but for me it is labor,” but everyone knows that she actually enjoys doing it.

Ho is always happy to help others. One time when all of her old neighbor’s children had passed away and the neighbor was depressed and stayed at home all day, Ho noticed this and would come up with any reason she could think of to visit the neighbor every day to lift her spirits. Ho spent a lot of energy taking her to participate in community activities or to chat with people at the care centers, until finally the neighbor came out of her depression and made a social comeback.(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)