The Lola Project – an elderly outreach programme

A month and a half ago, I embarked into planning a special project of doing an outreach activity for the elderly in Golden Acres Home for the Aged.  It all started when I browsed through my journal and saw my handwriting with the words: “To touch a life one day at a time”.“To touch a life one day at a time“- this is my mantra ever since.When I was a nurse working in a busy charity ward and handling 15 demanding patients, I lost track of the definition of caring and healing. I was more concerned of doing the job done and eventually I turned callous because of the workload. This is the reason I abandoned clinical nursing in hope of finding my lost calling.There were definitely apprehensions at first but when I started pursuing this “Lola” project I always reminded myself that things are always possible. It was ambitious in a sense that when I returned back from Mongolia, I had no existing source of income aside from a few research consultations for former PGH colleagues.My friends and I started raising funds for our special project and we thought of doing the easiest ways there were: solicitation and garage sale. It was hard doing the former than the latter as people nowadays would tend to think of the long list of bills and must-pays. Surprisingly, there were a few who shared their monetary contributions. On our first day of our garage sale, we could not find a table to use so we relocated to another friend’s house. A lot of our friends shared their old clothes and stuffs and we were able to raise P2, 000 (USD 48) for two days. Not bad considering that we only charge everything at P10- P20 (USD 0.45).When we arrived at the Golden Acres and headed to Sta. Rita Cottage, we found the Lolas sitting in their common room. We set the room and hanged the colorful banners and decorations that Suzie prepared. One touching part of the program was when I asked the the lolas what their Christmas wishes. Lola Lourdes Honrada of San Miguel Bulacan shared that even though she feels that she has a family with the other lolas in the nursing home, she wishes to share this Christmas season with her daughters and hopes to see them before God calls her home.

After the short program, we stayed longer and talked with them more. I had the chance to talk with Lola Lourdes and she told me her sad story. She used to work in Malaysia with her husband and when she returned to Zamboanga, her husband died without the knowledge of her daughters. She had tried writing to her daughters: Gina Jefferson and Maritess Appleby but it seems that her daughters had already moved out and that her letters were always returned. She wants to see her daughters very badly as she says : ” Hindi ko naman alam hanggang kailan ako mabubuhay. ( I do not know until when I will live)”. With the power of social media, I hope I could help her find her family.A lot of the lolas share the same story. They are thankful that they are provided with food and shelter by Department of Social Welfare and Development. But all of them long for the warmth of spending their last days with their own families.  One day, I’ll be a lola myself and when that day comes, I will always look back how I was once a granddaughter myself planning for this  ambitious Lola project.
– Reposted from my personal blog

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About agjessica

Jessica Virnna Antipolo is a pediatric nurse with a background in public health training, project implementation, epidemiology and biostatistics. She enjoys blogging, writing poems and short stories. She is the Research Associate of ACCESS Health International- Philippines.

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