People Able to Lend Support program helps seniors maintain independence
Elizabeth Wolfe's eyes never recovered from cataract surgery two years ago.
She no longer drives, and without the help of Greensburg resident Nancy Michael, she would have no way to get to doctor's appointments or the supermarket, she said.
Michael and Wolfe met 21⁄2 years ago through the People Able to Lend Support program offered by Highmark Senior Markets.
Michael, 67, a volunteer with the program, takes Wolfe to appointments or to pick up groceries.
“I don't know what I would do without her. I don't have anyone else,” said Wolfe of Greensburg.
The PALS program is intended to keep seniors healthy, independent and living at home for as long as possible, according to program coordinator Randy Detweiler.
About 500 volunteers provide services at no cost to recipients in nearly 50 counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Those services include transportation, grocery shopping, visits or phone calls, writing letters, feeding pets, preparing meals or doing light household chores or yard work.
Detweiler said most participants request transportation or social visits.
“Our volunteers really become quite attached to their recipients,” Detweiler sad. “They become friends, and having a new friend to stop by or call makes a huge difference.”
Program leaders coordinate more than 160 book, quilt and walking clubs.
The program started in 1997 with 140 volunteers who completed about 100 hours of service in the Pittsburgh area. Since then, it has grown significantly.
In 2012, about 500 volunteers, most of whom are retired, provided more than 8,500 hours of in-home service.
Volunteers must attend a two-hour training seminar and clear criminal and driving record checks. They earn credits that can be used for services, donated to a community bank or redeemed for gift cards at Giant Eagle or Eat'n Park.
Detweiler said the program makes a huge impact on recipients.
“So many people we help tell us they could not have stayed in their homes without the help from PALS volunteers,” he said.
Michael said it has changed her life.
“It's a very rewarding program,” she said. “It enriches your life.”
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lower gasoline prices fail to spur consumer spending
- Federal agency checking whether Highmark has enough doctors in Medicare plan
- Retailers that won’t open on Thanksgiving hope move pays off
- Household debt on the rise after 5-year decline
- Oil prices continue descent, dragging market indexes lower
- Google applies tech to medical device
- Housing prices nudge upward as more homes on market
- Thanksgiving deals called the best
- Butler County firm Deep Well Services tackles tough gas wells
- Westinghouse to construct colossal nuke plant in Turkey
- Budweiser beer brand gives Clydesdales pink slip for holidays