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 21, 2011

Many of our elderly have received tamale baskets!

Thank you to all of you who have donated tamale baskets to our elderly! We hated the thought of so many elderly eating only tortillas and salt for Christmas. Giving them a basket means that they can celebrate with a delicious, and nutritious, traditional meal! We were able to deliver many baskets this week, and it was such a joy to see the enormous smiles on their faces when we gave them a basket.

Thank you so much for making these smiles possible!

Dec 18, 2011

Sad news: Don Julian has passed away

We are very sorry to inform you that Don Julian, a dear member of our Elderly Care Program in San Jorge, has passed away this morning. He was blind and had been suffering from prostate problems for a while. We are sure he is in peace now!

The family is really sad, it is not easy to lose a loved one, specially this close to Christmas.
If you want to help Don Julian's family pay for his funeral, please click here, scroll down, enter your donation in the "Other box" and "A-52-funeral" in the details box. Any amount will be of great help and relief to the family.
Thank you!

Dec 16, 2011

Thank you!!!

Thanks to many generous donors, Rosa has received a brand new bed! Thank you so much to everyone who helped...every dollar made a difference!

Dec 5, 2011

Please help Rosa get a new bed

UPDATE on Rosa: We have received all the money we need for Rosa's bed. Thank you so much! We will buy the bed and deliver it to Rosa shortly!

Rosa is aging and her body is fragile. Unfortunately, Rosa sleeps on a delapidated bed that is falling apart and is very unstable. If she moves in the middle of the night, the bed collapses in the middle and she easily falls out and onto the floor. This has already happened several times and Rosa has suffered injuries from these falls. Rosa's family is worried about her, but they cannot afford to buy her a new bed, so they've come to us and asked for help. Rosa has a mattress to sleep on, but she needs a stronger bed frame that will keep her safe througout the night.
A single bed frame, without a mattress, costs $120. If you would like to help Rosa get a new bed, please go to Donate Now and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "A1 Family Aid". Thank you so much for caring for Rosa and helping to keep her safe! Any amount you can donate helps her! Any questions can be emailed to familyaid@mayanfamilies.org

Nov 29, 2011

Thank you so much!

Many of the members of our Elderly Care Program have received water filters and food this month, all thanks to many generous donors. Clean water and nutritious food are essential for our elderly. Many of them suffer from multiple health problems as they age, so they are not usually strong enough to fight illnesses caused by malnutrition or drinking dirty water. Your donations have helped our elderly to stay healthy and strong. Thank you so, so much for your care and generosity!

 To donate to our Elderly Care Program and give an elderly person a warm, homemade lunch every day,  please go to Donate Now and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "Elderly Care Program". Thank you so much on behalf of the many elderly who are helped by your generosity!

Nov 25, 2011

Sad News

A dear member of our elderly care program, Lucia, passed away today. She had been ill for a while, unable to eat very much and extremely weak. Her condition worsened and we are very sad to report she passed away.

We are asking for help in raising $182 to help her family pay for the funeral costs, which include a traditional ceremony for family and friends and a meal hosted by the family.
If you would like to make a one-time donation, please go to Donate Now, and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "A16 Family Aid". Thank you so much!

Nov 17, 2011

Great News!

Adrian with his new bed (his correct number is A-79)
Thank you so much to everyone who donated for a bed for Adrian! We are so happy to report that we received enough donations and Adrian now has his new, wooden bed and a mattress! This will make a huge difference in his life as he is able to sleep comfortably and he knows that there are people around the world who care for him! Thank you so much to everyone!

Read Adrian's story here.

Nov 16, 2011

Santiago needs urgent help!

Santiago is a dear member of our Elderly Care Program. In September, he started becoming ill and we were worried about him. We sent him to a doctor where he was examined and given medication for an ulcer, severe inflammation, and stomach and leg pain. However, the doctor wanted Santiago to return the next morning at 7:00am for a blood test. The challenge is that Santiago lives quite far away and he can't walk. There is also a long path to his house that is very narrow and rocky, impossible to drive. Therefore, we had to have our staff carry Santiago down the mountanous terrain to the car. And then we would drive him to the hospital, which was still far away.

The doctor kept wanting Santiago to return for more exams and check-ups, but we really struggled finding enough staff to carry him and drive him so frequently. We tried to brainstorm some other options, including using firemen to carry him. Eventually, the family tired from the process and Santiago started to get better so they decided it would be best for Santiago to just recover at home and not return to the doctor anymore. The family said that they would contact us if he got worse.

We just found out that Santiago has been in the hospital in Solola for a week, due to pain and inflammation again. This morning the doctors told the family that they want to send Santiago to the hospital in the capital because his situation is deteriorating. We're still not 100% sure what is wrong with Santiago, but the doctors in Solola are confident that they can't do anything more to help him.

The cost of taking Santiago to the capital, admitting him to the hospital, and running several exams is $75. Hopefully we can soon discover what is wrong with Santiago and treat him in the capital, where they have more equipment and doctors. Any amount that you could give to help Santiago, would be greatly appreciated. We would like to send him to the capital as soon as possible, so please spread the word about Santiago's urgent need. Thank you so much!

Please go to Donate Now, and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "A75 Medical".

Questions? Email us at familyaid@mayanfamilies.org

Nov 14, 2011

World Diabetes Day

Today is World's Dibetes Day. In honor of this day and in an effort to edcuate the local population, we held our monthly Diabetes Club today. Sixty-two people came to the club. The meeting began at 8:30 and we gave free blood exams, physical exams, and each person received a one-on-one consultation with a doctor and nutritionist. Medical staff led three discussions about neuropathy, diet, and exercise. At the end of the club, we handed out pamphlets explaining how to control your diabetes and the right foods to eat, and then we gave everyone a healhty lunch. People came from all over the lake-region, some came from far away, even across the lake.

When measuring blood sugar levels, we were shocked with what we saw. Keep in mind that a normal measurement is 100 and below. However, in our club today we had 21 people with measurements above 200, and 3 people had measurements above 400! We gave them shots of insulin right away, knowing that they were in great danger with such high blood sugar levels. This shows how dangerous diabetes is among Guatemalans and how desperate our Club is needed to help educate people.

Diabetes is a serious illness that effects many people all over the world. The poverty and lack of education that is so prevalent in Guatemala often makes diabetes invisible and deadly. Please consider making a donation to our Diabetes Club so we can continue our efforts in educating people and helping individuals live with diabetes in a healthy way.

Please go to Donate Now, and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "Diabetes Club". Thank you so much!

Nov 10, 2011

Medical Help needed for our Elderly!

Besides providing a nutritious meal each day for our Elderly in Panajachel and San Jorge, we want to support them with Health Care as well. Many of them suffer from constant pain and need milk and diapers to have a little more comfort in this stage of their lives.

To sponsor an Elderly with medical care means so much for them an their families. It is a way to reduce the suffering and pain of these people who have already suffered a lot.
Mrs Florencia A-05

Mrs. Lucia A16
At the moment we have 6 Elderly in our Panajachel program that are in great need of a sponsor:

Mrs. Florencia Bocel (A-05) is 92 years old and she needs medicine and diapers. It would cost $100 per month to provide her with that.

Mrs. Lucia (A-16) is 86 years old and she needs pain killers, diapers, and a fortified milk beverage every day. It costs $100 to sponsor her for a month.

Mrs. Isabel (A-27) is 80 years old and she is extremely thin and weak. She needs fortified milk and a protein powder called Incaparina in order to feel a little bit stronger. It would cost $117 to provide her with that for 1 month.
Mrs. Isabel A27

Mrs. Josefa A-18
Mrs. Josefa (A-18) she needs on-going treatment and diapers. It costs $100 per month to sponsor her.
Mr. Santiago A-75

Mr. Santiago (A-75) is extremely weak and the daily meal he gets is not enough to keep his body functioning well. He needs fortified milk, Incaparina, and diapers. It costs $100 to sponsor him.
Mrs. Maximiliana A-26

Ms. Maximiliana (A-26) suffers from diabetes and she needs to have her medicine on a constant basis. It costs $50 per month to provide her with her medicine.

We understand that many of our Elderly need donations and it is difficult to choose who to help, but any amount that you can give will be of great help for these sweet members of our community. It is hard to get to an advanced age and not have enough to eat or to be forced to live with an aching body constantly. Many of our Elderly have lived long, difficult lives, and we want to make their lives as comfortable as possible now, and we need your help!

If you would like to help one of the Elderly in our program, please go to Donate Now, and enter your donation in the "Other" box.  In the "Details" box, write the number of the Elderly you want to help (A - XX).

Or you can donate monthly to ensure that one gets their monthly needs. Go to Donate Monthly and enter your donation in the "Other Program" box. Under "Description" write "A and the number of the elderly you want to help" and write how much you'd like to donate per month.

If you have questions, feel free to send an email to familyaid@mayanfamilies.org

Thank you!!!

Nov 7, 2011

UPDATE: Pedro is doing better

We want to thank all of you who have generously given to Pedro and helped him during this difficult time. You can read the last blog about his health here. Thanks to your donations, we were able to take Pedro to a private doctor and run several exams. The exams showed that Pedro has high blood pressure, that he is malnourished, and that he has amoebas. The doctor prescribed three different medications which we were able to buy with your donations and Pedro has been taking them regularly. We also have enough money to pay for Pedro to receive 3 meals a day for one month. Thank you so much!

We visited Pedro this morning to make sure he is feeling better and to remind him that he has another doctor appointment on Thursday. Thanks to your generous care, Pedro is eating better and feeling better! We hope that the worst is behind him and that he will continue to improve. Thank you so much!

Nov 4, 2011

Adrian is sleeping on a piece of wood

Mr. Adrian is the newest elderly in our Elderly Care Program. He is 86 years old and lives in a family compound with his daughter, granddaughter, and their families.

His daughter and granddaughter are his sole caregivers, but they both struggle to support their own families. They are really anxious and worried that they cannot take care of Adrian as well as they would like to.

Since Tuesday this week, when his family came to the office to ask for help, Adrian is receiving one nutritious meal per day through the Mayan Families Feeding Program. The family is so relieved that he is eating well at least once a day, because he had been losing a lot of weight and getting sick due to malnutrition.

We went to visit Adrian's house and it was very upsetting to see that he is sleeping on a piece of wood (a door, actually) that the family borrowed from a neighbor. Furthermore, it is more upsetting to know that as bad as it seems to be sleeping on a piece of wood, Adrian is just glad he isn't sleeping on the floor.

If you can help Adrian be more comfortable by giving him a bed with a mattress, please go to  Donate Now and scroll down.  Enter $170 in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "A79 Bed and Mattress". If you want to help Adrian with food or medicine, enter your donation in the "Other $" box and write A79 in the "Details" box. Any amount will help Adrian tremendously! Thank you so much!

Oct 26, 2011

Pedro is very sick

We have sad news regarding Pedro, a dear member of our Elderly Care Program. We have visited him a lot the past several days to check on him after the storms and to see how he's doing with his partial facial paralysis. We knew that his health was deteriorating, but we didn't expect him to get so bad so quickly. We took him to a doctor this morning and were told his blood pressure was dangerously high and Pedro needed to be taken to the hospital in Solola immediately. However, Pedro has no family to look after him, so we were hesitant to send him far away (a difficult trip with the current road conditions) where no one from Mayan Families could check on him regularly. Therefore, we sent him to a private doctor here in Panajachel this afternoon who has given him medicine for his high blood pressure and wants to see him first thing in the morning to run some blood tests and other examinations. The cost for Pedro's medication, multiple doctor consultations, and examinations is $125.

The doctor has strongly advised Pedro not to do any physical activity for at least a month and that he must rest in bed so that his blood pressure does not rise even more. However, Pedro has an arrangement with his neighbor where he works around the house and in return she gives him breakfast and dinner. Because Pedro cannot work for his meals, we are hoping to be able to pay his neighbor for his breakfast and dinner. This way, Pedro will be able to rest and still receive 3 meals a day (one from Mayan Families, two from his neighbor). The cost of feeding Pedro these meals for one month will cost $120. We are very sad that Pedro's health is deterioritating, but we are hoping that with proper medical care and lots of rest, he will improve soon.

To donate to Pedro and help him get better, please go to Donate Now, and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "A6 Medical". Any amount will help Pedro tremendously! Thank you so much!

Questions? Email us at familyaid@mayanfamilies.org

Oct 25, 2011

Celestina needs medicine to fight an infection

Celestina lives in San Jorge and is in our Elderly Care Program. Today, her daughter traveled to our office very concerned about her mother. Celestina suffers greatly from arthritis, but to makes things even more difficult, she was recently bitten by some type of insect in her home. The bite is on her finger and has become severely infected. She is in desperate need of medication so that her hand can return to normal. She has already gone to the hospital in Solola and has been prescribed a special medication, which costs $25. If you can donate to Celestina, it will make a huge difference in helping her to heal and recover from this infection.

Please go to Donate Now and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "A53 Medical".

Thank you so much! Questions? Email us at familyaid@mayanfamilies.org

Oct 24, 2011

Caring for the elderly


Thank you to all of you who have given to our elderly, especially during the storms these past several days. Thanks to your generous donations, we have been visiting the elderly in our program and passing out necessities, such as vitamin-enriched powdered drinks, oatmeal, Ensure, and adult diapers, just to name a few. We have also had several volunteer nurses and a doctor traveling to homes to check up on our elderly during these colder temperatures.

This is Pedro. He doesn't have any living family, but thanks to caring neighbors and Mayan Families, he does have people who check on him regularly and feed him. He currently suffers from a temporary face paralysis on his left side. Thanks to your donations, we're able to help him receive steroid injections that are improving his paralysis. We've also made sure that he has plenty of soft foods and warm drinks since he cannot chew solid food right now due to the paralysis. When we visited Pedro, he gratefully showed us the food supplies that Mayan Families had donated to him. He is so very thankful for the support he receives from your donations! Thank you for helping him!

Oct 14, 2011

Tropical Storm Update of our Elderly

The brothers in the shelter
We are so relieved to report that most of those in our Elderly Care Program are doing well after the Tropical Storm that recently hit Panajachel. I'm sure many of you have already heard, but we have had devastating amounts of rain that has led to mudslides, flooding, and the destruction of many homes. All roads in or out of Pana have been closed, all schools have been closed, and electricity comes and goes. Panajachel set up an emergency shelter in the town's gymnasium, and we visited each day to pass out warm clothes, diapers for children, and adult diapers. Only two members of our elderly care program, brothers Miguel and Manuel, were brought to the shelter. Unfortunately, their home began to take in water, so extended family members brought them to the shelter. When we visited them we were somewhat concerned because they were completely alone, and they need help with feedings and diaper changes. But we called their neice and made sure that they were properly cared for. We're happy to report that yesterday Miguel and Manuel were able to leave the shelter and go to a dry home. We will continue to check up on them, but it appears that they are in a safe, dry place.
The brothers leaving the shelter

While we are not able to go to San Jorge because the roads are closed, we have been able to be in contact with those who run our Elderly Care Program there. We're so relieved to know that almost all of our elderly are doing well after the storm. However, there is one woman in particular, Alejandra, whose home has been compromised and it is not safe for living. The home has let in water and everything is damp and muddy. Furthermore, there is a great risk that the home may collapse. However, Alejandra and her family have no place to go, so they continue to live in this home, which is not safe for them. We want to help relocate them or build a secure wall near their home to prevent collapse, but we cannot get to San Jorge right now. Hopefully we can assess the damage soon and help this family live in a more secure home.

We will update the blog with more details as we get them, but we just wanted to let everyone know that most of our elderly are doing okay despite the storms. Of course, with so much rain and the news reports saying the rain will continue for 2 more days straight, many of our elderly will be affected by the cold temperatures. Because homes in Guatemala tend to trap humidity, many homes will be very damp and cold.

Thank you for caring for our elderly and please email us at familyaid@mayanfamilies.org if you have any questions.

Oct 7, 2011

Diabetes Club

From time to time, we'll post stories of families affected by diabetes so you can see how many lives in Guatemala are affected by this illness.  If you would like to donate to our Diabetic Club, which meets monthly and provides one-on-one medical assistance and education to persons afflicted with diabetes, please go to Donate Now, and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "Diabetes Club".

Thank you so much!

Crecencia lost her husband and four of her children

Crecencia is not even 40 years old yet and she has already been through a lot in her life. This year has been especially tragic for her.

Nicolas, Crecencia's husband was diabetic and the family didn't have enough money to give him proper medical care. Because of this, Nicolas was rushed to the hospital many times in the last few years as a result of complications with his diabetes. From these hospital trips, the family contracted a huge debt to pay for his treatment. Unfortunately due to lack of proper medical care, last February Nicolas passed away at home. He left behind his wife with 8 kids to raise by herself.

Perhaps his death could have been prevented, but the family could not afford proper medical attention or medicine for his diabetes. We're trying to do everything we can to prevent this illness from taking more lives. Please consider donating to our Diabetes Club. Thank you!

Read Crecencia's full story here.

Biography: Marcela Coj Samines

Marcela Coj Samines (A36):

Marcela is 87 years old (2011) and lives in San Jorge. She never had the opportunity to go to school and her primary language is Kaqchiquel. She is widowed and has two children. She is very poor and only receives Q400 each month. This is not enough money to pay for her needs, which include buying wood for her fire, paying for her light, and buying food. Marcela's daughter owns the home that she lives in. Her home is made of wood and has a dirt floor. She cooks over an open fire. Marcela doesn't have a water filter or pila; she has to carry her water to her home from the public pila in town. She doesn't have a place to shower, so she uses the shower in her son's home. She doesn't have a place to put her clothes, so she uses cardboard boxes. Marcela also suffers from asthma, but she cannot afford her medicine. She now has a bed with a mattress, thanks to Mayan Families donations, but she used to sleep on the floor for many years. Her only consistent source of food is the lunch she receives every day from Mayan Families. She often goes without breakfast or dinner.

Biography: Rosa Guit Ramos

Rosa Guit Ramos (A32)

Rosa is 88 years old (2011) and lives in San Jorge. She never went to school and her primary language is Kaqchiquel. She is widowed and has four children. Rosa lives with one of her daughters, and this daughter helps to feed her and provide for her. Rosa and her daughter live in a one-room home, which they own. The home is made of wood and has a dirt floor. They do have a water filter, pila, and bathroom. They have a table with four chairs, one closet, and one bed with a mattress.

Biography: Maria Coroxon

Maria Coroxon (A31)

Maria is 95 years old (2011) and lives alone in San Jorge. She never went to school and her primary language is Kaqchiquel. Maria is widowed and has four children, but they do not help her very much financially, because they can barely provide for their own families. As a result, Maria is very grateful for Mayan Families and the warm lunch she receives every day. She rents her simple two-room home. The floor is made of dirt and she doesn't have a place to shower or a water filter. She cooks over an open fire and has no place to put her clothes except a cardboard box. She has one table, one chair, and one bed, and now thanks to a generous donor, she has a mattress!

Biography: Maria Felipa Coros

Maria Felipa Coros (A30)

Maria is 74 years old (in 2011) and lives in San Jorge. She never went to school and primarily speaks Kaqchiquel. Maria has been widowed for many years, but she has two daughters and one son who are still living. Only one of her daughters helps her financially and gives her some food. However, the help and food that she receives from her daughter is very little because her daughter has her own children whom she struggles to provide for. Maria lives in a one-room home, which is small and very simple. The home is made half of cement block and half of wooden plywood. There is only a dirt floor. Maria doesn't have a water filter, stove, pila, or shower. She has no place to keep her clothes except in a cardboard box. She doesn't have any tables or chairs, but she does have one bed made of wood.