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

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.

Oct 5, 2011

Our Diabetes Club needs your help!

Many Guatemalans suffer from diabetes.  This is an unfortunate outcome of poor diets and malnourishment, which is very common among impoverished families.  And if the family is poor, then treatment for diabetes is rarely even an option. There is no cure for diabetes, only strategies on how to live with it.  So when a person becomes diabetic their life is forever changed and they always have an imminent medical need. Many lose their eyesight and have trouble walking, which makes it very difficult for them to find jobs and provide for themselves.

We have had several families come to us with diabetes and medical costs related to diabetes.  Often, the family is plunged into debt because of the medical emergencies which often result from diabetes.  For those who know that they have diabetes, very rarely can they afford the much needed medicines, nor can they afford to change their diet. Most people are just happy to have 2 or 3 meals a day, they find it very difficult to have the money to eat the right kinds of foods if they have diabetes.

Because of this, we at Mayan Families have begun a Diabetes Club that meets monthly.  From the members of our club, we have been realizing more and more how much of a problem diabetes is here and how many families need medical assistance because of it.  At our Club, we give general physical exams and test blood levels.  We also teach people about diabetes and hand out information on what they should or shouldn't eat.  Thanks to our volunteer medical staff, we are able to give one-on-one consultation regarding living a healthy life with diabetes.

Because so many poor people are affected by diabetes, our Diabetes Club is a much needed resource for families. However, we need financial assistance to keep it up and running. If you would like to donate to our Diabetes Club, please go to Donate Now  and scroll down.  Enter your donation in the "Other $" box.  In the "Details" box, write "Diabetes Club". Thank you!