Program helps 91-year-old Sharpsburg woman remain independent
After 30 years in the same sixth-floor apartment of the Sharpsburg Towers, the colorful door placard that reads “Mayor” seems befitting of resident Peg Panza.
A short visit to the 91-year-old yields little one-on-one time with her, between pop-ins from neighbors and phone calls from members of her ladies auxiliary seeking help for its upcoming luncheon.
“I used to be bashful,” said Panza, an Ohio native who married and raised a family in Sharpsburg. “But that doesn't get you anywhere.”
Panza credits a UPMC St. Margaret service, Living at Home, for supporting her independence.
“I have a girl come in and clean every two weeks,” she said. “I don't really need that because I like to clean, but I had my hip replaced four times, and they tell me I can't run the sweeper anymore.”
Panza also gets help filling her pill boxes and checking her blood pressure.
The Living at Home program is aimed at providing help for the area's aging population, said UPMC spokeswoman Carly Manino. Care for senior citizens was identified as a priority during a 2013 hospital assessment of local health needs, Manino said. Conducted by medical specialists and community leaders, it revealed preventative health and wellness, screenings and home health care as topics for continued focus, Manino said.
Senior citizens throughout the Lower Valley can receive in-home care, meal delivery, grocery shopping, housekeeping and help with yardwork.
“It is designed to help more seniors live independently for as long as possible,” Manino said.
The Living at Home initiative is one of several that the hospital uses to address the needs of under-served senior citizens. There are free community education programs, a shuttle service to provide access along the Freeport Road corridor, lectures, diabetes screenings and support groups.
Panza, who fell during a storm last year and broke an elbow, also has some eyesight issues. None of the ailments appear to slow her down, but, she said, she appreciates the help.
“My eyesight isn't so good, so they fill my pills every three weeks for me,” she said. “Isn't that nice?
“I have a girl named Karen that comes and cleans my bathroom and kitchen. Really, I just like to have her come and talk.”
Panza still holds her position as president of the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary after 40 years. She is working now to coordinate the Chinese auction for the group's upcoming bingo and lunch on Aug. 23. Her bedroom is filled with more than a dozen laundry baskets and boxes that contain snacks, body lotions and other auction prizes.
“Somebody's got to do it,” she said. “My daughters call me a stubborn old woman. I call it independence.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or at email@example.com.
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.
- Blawnox seeks grant to fix McKinley Street
- Fox Chapel homecoming activities include community carnival
- Rain barrel initiative in Lower Valley river towns aims to reduce pollutants
- Aspinwall holiday celebration to feature many new attractions
- Fox Chapel native returns home to tell tale at Cooper-Siegel Community Library
- O’Hara RIDC Park business plans to expand, add jobs