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Non-Profit Helps Keep Senior Citizens At Home With Visits From Volunteers

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – We all know the American population is aging, and for some people that can bring problems like health concerns, loneliness and isolation.

But a group of goodhearted volunteers is working together to change that, and their work is making an enormous difference.

Once a week, every week, Shana Weaver visits Elizabeth Neale in her Roslindale apartment, while Imelda Auron takes Jennie shopping in West Roxbury.

Shana and Imelda are two of about 500 volunteers working with Ethos, an non-profit organization that helps seniors keep living in their own homes, on their own terms.

“I don’t have any family near me and if I didn’t have Imelda, I don’t know what I would do,” says Jennie.

“It’s just the warmth and comfort this young woman is giving me,” says Elizabeth.

Ethos volunteers also act as medical escorts, help seniors with bill paying and deliver meals, but mostly, they offer companionship.

“Having a volunteer go in and become their friend is extremely important for keeping the spirits up, keeping the determination strong,” says Dale Mitchell, the executive director of Ethos, which is based in Jamaica Plain.

“Where do you find a friend like that? Especially a young one. She’s like my granddaughter that I’ve never had,” says Jennie about Imelda.

And it’s great for the volunteers as well.

“I just love spending time with Jennie. It’s a great experience for me. Sometimes I feel as though she’s more my friend than someone I volunteer with,” says Imelda.

“I think our connection is special because it just allows me just reflection on my own life and also, she gives me advice, too, about life,” Shana said.

And everyone is that much richer.

“We can talk basically about anything and we can go anywhere. And have a glass of wine, occasionally,” says Elizabeth.

Ethos serves about 300 elders and disabled people in Boston.

Do you know people who are working to make a difference in their communities? If so, tell WBZ’s Ken Tucci about it: krtucci@wbztv.com We might do a story about it!

For information about Ethos: http://www.ethocare.org/

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