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 20, 2012

Santos Palaz

(A-68) Status: Not Sponsored
Needs: doctor's visit & follow-up, bed, mattress, water filter replacement cartridges
To help: www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow "A-68 [need]" e.g. sponsorship, medical, bed.
Past stories about Santos: click here.
For more stories and photos of the ancianos in the Feeding Program, please consider purchasing a book compiled of our participants. All profits go to the Elderly. You can preview the book here.  

It feels like a nail being pounded through his breast, then coursing through his torso to his swollen hips. 
For five years the tumor has been growing and Santos has been losing his sight.
His daughter guides him to a chair in the dark of the room, explaining why she can't take him to the doctor: there has never been any money. 
There is no electricity in the room, and the walls are dank. Two chairs and a small table host a little food and a water filter whose filters have been outdated for over a year. A wooden statue of Christ is embedded in the concrete wall, watching over a dirt floor.  
The house lets in the chickens, but little light as Santos’ daughter shows us where the tumor sits, where there might be a cyst or something else.
The pain used to come and go, now its just constant.
His grandchildren sit in the doorway. Their father left them, his daughter says, pointing to her son.
Her husband had worked as a day-laborer, and earned less than $6 a day.
Now she looks after them alone, and must take the job of guiding her father where he needs to go, since he can no longer see.
She works making jewelry and might earn $2 a week.
She lives in a house with her two kids, apart from the room where her father sleeps on a mat on the dirt.
She uses the community concrete sink to wash their clothes and dishes.
Her sister has three kids of her own, living in similar conditions. Even combined, the families could not provide for Santos’ medical costs.
The food he gets comes from the Elderly Care program, which his grandkid retrieves for him at lunchtime.
It looks like he’s growing a breast, his daughter says. We’re afraid that he won’t be able to walk at all soon if the pain gets any worse.

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