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

Dec 8, 2010

Manuel Miguel and Maximiliana

Manuel receiving his new mattress!
Update May 6th
Thanks so much to generous donations, Manuel got a brand new mattress for his bed. He is so grateful!!
Thank you to those who made this possible.

Update Feb 18th 2011--Manuel Needs a Mattress!
Manuel's bug-ridden mattress

Manuel's thin cotton mattress is dirty and flattened with years of use, and we found out this week that it is infested with fleas or bedbugs.  We can get Manuel a new mattress for just $45.  If you would like to help make Manuel's nights more comfortable, please go to Donate Now, and enter the amount of your donation in the "Other" box, with "A25 mattress" in the description.  Thank you!

Update Feb 14th 2011 
We distributed vitamins to Manuel, Miguel and Maximiliana today and we asked them how they are and if they are in need of anything. They are very grateful to be receiving the Mayan Families lunch everyday. Although Miguel has been bedbound since an accident at work years ago, he is continuing to do his exercises from bed - to ensure he doesn't get bed sores or suffer too much muscle deterioration. This same accident resulted in brain damage as well leaving him unable to walk. He has since been unable to form sentences, but he is always delighted to see us. Manuel has been doing much better with his health concerns, but we are keeping an eye on him and his niece is always attentive to his medical and health needs. If you would like to make a donation to Manuel, Miguel and Maximiliana to ensure we can continue bringing them lunches and provide for their medicines please go to the donate now page, scroll down to the other box and enter A24 for Miguel, A25 for Manuel, and/or A26 for Maximiliana. Thank you for your support.

* December 9, 2010 Update *

We have received $100 for Manuel's initial examinations and medications.

We're now awaiting some lab results to find out what the next steps should be and will be sure to keep you posted! Thank you so much for your support.


Manuel on December 8th
We have just been informed that Manuel Parajon, one of our Elderly Care Program members, is suffering from a very badly inflamed prostate. He has been using a catheter for two years, and it has recently been filling up with blood. The family rushed him to the public health clinic, where doctors recommended ultrasound examinations and lab tests as soon as possible in order to determine the source of the problem and whether Manuel needs an operation.

Manuel is a very sweet 78 year old man. He lives with his sister Maximiliana and his brother Miguel, who are both also in our Elderly Care Program. Manuel was born with a mental disorder (we are not told what) and cannot speak, but he always communicates such joy with huge (ear to ear!) grins and laughter. He loves Mayan Families visits, and his reaction when we come at lunchtime always brings us and his family to smiles, and often to laughs. For the past 40 years Manuel has been living with Maximiliana. He was never married and does not have children; Maximiliana, Manuel, and Maximiliana’s children are his closest family. Maximiliana’s 38-year-old daughter, Pati, also takes care of Manuel and Miguel, especially now that Maximiliana is finding herself with less energy than in her younger years.
Manuel just last week, receiving a donation of towels, soap, and a blanket. There is an obvious, dramatic difference between him then and now (see the first photo).

Manuel started having prostate problems two years ago. He has been using a catheter since then. He used to take medicine, but since Pati got very sick 4 months ago with major hernia, the family hasn’t been able to afford it for him.

The past few days have been the first that we have seen Manuel not smiling. He urgently needs medical attention, but Pati’s illness has drained the family of their resources and they simply cannot pay for it—In this family of 15, there are 11 dependents, including 8 children and 2 very unwell adults, and only 3 adults earning very low and very inconsistent wages (about $20/month each). Please help Manuel get examined and treated as soon as possible. We estimate that $100 will cover preliminary examinations and temporary medications to ensure that Manuel remains stable until further treatment, and we'll update the blog as soon as we have more exact cost information. To make a donation, please click here and enter “Elderly Care, Manuel Parajon” in the Other box. We will be sure to keep you updated on his condition. Thank you so much for your time and support.

Miguel on November 9th, receiving some clothes donations, and very excited about it!

Dec 6, 2010

Josefa Quechi - Sponsored

Feb 2011
Josefa receiving some of her donations
December 8, 2010 - Josefa Quechi is 83 years old and lives with her 56-year-old daughter and primary caretaker, Juacina. Josefa and her husband bought the house that she still lives in 35 years ago—5 years before her husband passed away. Since then Josefa and Juacina, who was never married, have been living together.
Josefa receiving diaper donations
Josefa broke her leg in Dec 2009 and has since then been confined to her bed and a bedside chair because she can no longer walk. Josefa has 6 children (3 sons and 3 daughters) and 13 grandchildren—She had 14 grandchildren but one passed away. All but one son live in the same town, Panajachel, but because Josefa’s children are struggling with their own families' needs, Josefa relies on her sponsorship, the lunches we bring her, and Juacina's care. Except for the occasional sale of homemade popsicles, Juacina hasn’t been working for 8 years because her mother eventually needed fulltime support and because good work is very hard to come by. Juacina and Josefa’s diets mainly consist of beans, onions, and tortillas (now in addition to Josefa’s daily Mayan Families lunch). Fortunately they do not have to pay rent, so Juacina’s main expenses are the electricity and food. Josefa has been using diapers since she became bedridden, and she takes two types of pain and anti-inflammatory medicines to help deal with her slow recovery.
Josefa and her daughter, Juacina, in the
bedroom that they share

Josefa is deeply religious, and one of her sons is a pastor. She was very enthusiastic when we had a pastor from Indiana visit our elderly clients (in November 2010). They prayed and cried together for a long time. Josefa tends to well up when she talks about faith and her condition, but she normally greets us with a wonderful smile and lots of energy, as well as hugs and kisses!

Thanks to wonderful support from donors, Josefa has enough support to cover the cost of her diapers and pain medicines. Whatever is leftover from the monthly donation Josefa receives (after the cost of Josefa's medical needs is deducted) is used to buy food for the family. This is a tremendous help for the family, and one that Josefa would suffer without. Josefa and Mayan Families send deepest thanks to her sponsors.
If you are coming to Guatemala and would like to bring something for Josefa, we know that she would love Spanish-language Christian gifts. Thank you so much!

Dec 2, 2010

Domingo needs to see a doctor

Domingo Lopez Ahu is in his 80s, and his health has been deteriorating for some time.  The last time he saw a doctor, at the public hospital in Sololá, doctors told him that he had only one functioning kidney, and that his prostate required surgery, but he was not strong enough to have the operation.  They sent him home without medication.  That was two years ago.  Today, he is mostly bedridden, and he suffers from fainting spells if he gets up.  He has had no medical treatment at all since, and suffers from pain without the help of any medication. 

We heard about Domingo’s condition through his grandson, Marco, who came to Mayan Families because of another medical emergency—his wife had been the victim of malpractice.  Sadly, though we were able to ensure that she had quality care, Marco’s wife passed away.  This tragedy came just 6 months after the untimely death of Marco’s younger brother.  This has been a disastrous year for Domingo’s family, many of whom live together in the same home as Domingo.  Medical bills have left Marco over 50,000 Quetzales in debt, and put a heavy strain on the family’s finances.  They don’t have the money to take Domingo to a doctor.  The family knows that there isn’t much they can do, but it hurts them to see him in pain, and they would like to get Domingo some type of pain medication to make him more comfortable. 

Because of Domingo’s age and existing health problems, it will require a visit to the doctor to determine what medication is appropriate.  We need just $45 to send Don Domingo to a trustworthy doctor who can help his family determine how best to care for him.

To help Domingo’s family take him to the doctor, go to Donate Now, and enter your donation in the "Other" box.  Under "Description," write "FA72 medical."  Thank you!