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)

台南市柳營區的八翁社區關懷據點志工何招治雖已九十一歲,仍積極投入志工服務,還拿著鋤頭栽種蔬果分送其他老人,樂在其中。「阿嬤的年紀最大,服務對象都比她小,但她當志工比誰都認真!」

台南市政府上週在下營舉辦志工教育基礎訓練課程,請學者專家傳授志工服務技巧,不少下營、六甲、柳營等區的社區關懷志工報名參加,其中最受矚目的,就是「老志工」何招治。

八翁社區發展協會總幹事彭月葉表示,社區關懷據點在十二年前成立時,熱心助人的何阿嬤就擔任志工,幫人量血壓,並身兼環保志工,幫忙打掃社區環境;逢年過節也和大家一起做菜包和碗粿,再分送獨居老人和關懷對象。

何阿嬤強調:「心情開朗,身體自然就會好。」子女邀她同住,但她捨不得老鄰居,迄今仍自己住,完全不用人操心,還有餘力做志工。她目前仍拿著鋤頭耕種二分地,種了不少蔬果,除了給自己和家人吃,還送給附近的老人。「別人種田是運動,我種田是勞動啦!」她常這樣調侃自己,周遭的人都知道其實她樂在其中。

樂於助人的她,先前看到一位老鄰居因為子女過世而陷入憂鬱,整天關在家裡。為免對方想不開,何阿嬤每天都找盡理由,強拉對方參加社區活動,或到關懷據點和大家聊天,費了不少心力,終於把老鄰居拉進人群,且慢慢變開朗。

(自由時報記者黃博郎)