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

May 24, 2013

Paula Sahon & Tereso Ajocon

(A-2, A-23) Status: Not Sponsored
(A-2 Tereso) Needs: meal sponsorship, room to rent, Ensure, medicines for nervous attacks and pain
(A-23 Paula) Needs: meal sponsorship, running water. room to rent, food assistance
To help: www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow "A-2, or A-23 [write needs, sponsorship etc.]"
To sponsor one for meals at $35 a month, or both at $70 a month, visit: http://mayanfamilies.org/DonateMonthly.aspx

They've been separated now by 50 years, but circumstance has brought them--unwillingly--together again.

Paula was Tereso's first wife. For most of her life, She's been living with her daughter and two grandkids, but when the father left them for another woman, the daughter became very depressed. Faced with the responsibility of caring for both her mother and children by herself, she has become increasingly unstable. She works small jobs here and there, and never has enough to feed both her children and her mother. They live in a house without potable water, do not have a bathroom or anywhere to wash themselves, dishes or clothes.

Paula says that her daughter blames her, and this is why she hits her.

To help the anciana, Paula's daughter-in-law took her in. This is the house where Paula's estranged husband lives; the daughter-in-law took him in too after his own kids abandoned him. She is caring for the parents of her ex-husband, who left her for her sister, in addition to her five adolescent children. She makes $8 a week washing clothes and dishes. In the house, there are two beds and a small dresser propped up against the end of one to keep the bed from falling; there is hardly space for them all.

Tereso had a stroke five years ago, and now suffers nervous attacks, severe memory loss, loss of mobility in his limbs, muscle cramps and headaches. He can barely speak, walk, or hear. Some medicines and at least a fortified dietary supplement like Ensure, and vitamins help the cramping and general strength.

To make room for them all, the household are weighing their options: the daughter-in-law inherited a piece of land where they might build, though it is situated next to her sister and her ex. They may also add onto their current home to make a room for Tereso and allow Paula to live in the house with the others.  However, the land it is on is rented, and they would have to pay each month in addition to construction costs: then, when Tereso dies and is no longer living there, they would have to turn the room over to the landowner.

Another option is adding a second floor to their current home. Mayan Families construction is looking into this cost and what can be done to make costs as efficient as possible-- this would solve many problems for them.

If you would like to help with the household's food situation, which is a huge burden on the daughter-in-law's small salary, or with meal sponsorship, construction or medicines, please visit the links beneath the photos. Thank you!

one room of the small house, where Tereso currently sleeps

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