Elderly Info

The food crisis in Guatemala is having a devastating effect on the elderly. Without enough to eat, many older people are becoming weak and malnourished, leaving them more vulnerable to illnesses that they cannot afford medical care for. They are unable to provide for even their most basic needs. In many cases, family members are unable to help as they struggle to feed themselves and their own children, leaving the elderly without any form of support and often living in heartbreaking conditions.

Please help us bring them the life-sustaining food and medical care that they so desperately need. General donations are used to ensure that we always have an adequate supply of food, medicine, and funds for meals, necessary medical treatment, and transportation. Monthly sponsorship would help feed one person, once a day for five days a week. Via blog and web album, we'll show you exactly where your aid is going and help you get to know the men and women whose lives you are changing.

If you would like to sponsor an elderly person for $35 a month, please click here and write "monthly sponsorship'' in the Other box. To make a one-time donation for medicine, rent, or other costs, please click here and enter "Elderly Care Program" in the Other box. Any questions can be directed to Amy at amy@mayanfamilies.org

Media on Mayan Families Elderly

Ancianos : Megan Gette + photos by Rob Bain, Nisa East, Rhett Hammerton and Hiroko Tanaka

Mayan Families- Ancianos Stories : Nisa East

Mayan Families Elderly Feeding Care Program : Rhett Hammerton

Facing Hunger: Elderly in Rural Guatemala

Nov 22, 2010

Maria Germana and Her Son, Victor

Maria locking up her house. Clothes that her
daughter, Maria, washed are hanging outside.
Maria Germana is a 77-year-old mother of 7 (5 sons and 2 daughters). Maria is very friendly and affectionate--without exception greeting Mayan Families staff with hugs and kisses, and occasionally inviting us to some fresh lemonade as well! Since being widowed, she has lived with one son, as well as his wife and three children, in a small, partitioned house. In the other partition live Maria's daughter, Marta, and 3 grandchildren

The quarters are cramped, but the family is glad to be staying together in this government-subsidized housing. Maria spends most of her time at home, helping her daughter Marta with the housework and enjoying the company of her grandchildren, but she also goes out everyday.
Victor and Maria; (Maria had just been crying after they recounted
to us Victor's story).
One place that Maria goes to everyday is the home of Victor Hernandez, one of her sons. Victor, now 49, was blinded in a workplace accident when he was 24. It was a tragedy that touches them deeply to this day. Before the accident he was a great athlete and very social and popular. Unfortunately, since the accident Victor has not been able to live a normal life--He was never married and hardly ever finds work. Victor now relies on support from his mother, other family members, and friends. Victor's condition is a source of great sadness for Maria; Victor himself moves in and out of depression. Blindness and poverty in combination are especially trying on the spirit.

Victor is the youngest person in our "Elderly" Care Program. Although he doesn't quite fall into the target age group, we bring lunch, too, because otherwise he would go without. 

Another place that Maria often goes to (once a week) is the public health clinic so that she can get her blood pressure measured. Maria has high blood pressure, and although she attempts to take good care of herself, she often goes without the heart medicine she needs because her family cannot afford it. During the dangerous periods that Maria goes without blood pressure medication, Maria--who is usually all smiles--feels sick and weak. 

There are a few things that would greatly lighten the lives of Maria and Victor:

- Monthly sponsorship for Maria's blood pressure medicine (just $6.25 a month!)

- A new bed and mattress for Maria ($170); She has a very old and uncomfortable bed (especially unsuitable for an elderly person), and--although our members rarely complain or ask for anything--she has said that it pains her, especially given her worsening arthritis. In the photo on the right is Maria's bed. The metal frame, which does not fit the old spring mattress, can be felt as Maria tries to sleep (in a room shared by 6 people). 
- A new bed and mattress for Victor ($170). His bed--almost the only thing he owns--is also very old and uncomfortable.

- Literature in Spanish brail for Victor, or any other special resources for blind people. Victor has very little property--Anything would be welcome. In such poverty and without being able to see, Victor has so little to do, and that is a major reason for his fits of depression.
To make a monthly donation to help Maria with her blood pressure medication, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Maria Germana medicine" in the Other Program section. To make a one-time gift donation to Maria Germana or Victor Hernandez, please click here and enter "Elderly Care, Maria Germana [details]" or "Elderly Care, Victor Hernandez [details]" in the Other section. (Please make sure to include their last names.) Thank you so much!

Maria next to her bed and in her bedroom, which she shares
with 5 other people (her son and his wife and 3 children)

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