During the past decade Margaret Stores has helped innumerable homebound seniors despite her own failing health. She has been a Senior Companion volunteer since May 1991. Stores volunteers approximately 20 hours per week with the Senior Companion program. She is a widow and her income is less than 25% of the federal poverty level. The program provides her with a small stipend to help with gas and car maintenance, but she gives much of her time and money to continue her service to the public.
Some of the activities she performs for elderly clients are grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and transporting and accompanying to doctor’s appointments. She also provides necessary companionship and cooks hot meals that can be frozen or refrigerated for evenings and weekends.
In addition, Stores is an advocate for the homebound seniors she visits. During her long residency in the community, she has become acutely aware of organizations and services available to assist the elderly that are in need. So, in addition to providing essential services in their home, Stores refers her clients to agencies that can also provide housekeeping, personal aides, food boxes, and other items they need.
Many social services agency representatives have said that it is partially due to Stores’ assistance that many of the seniors are able to remain in their own homes. Before her crusade of care began, the only other alternative for those seniors unable to live at home was going to the nursing home. Many of the elderly do not want to go to the home, but instead want to remain independent as long as they can and keep their homes as long as possible.
Stores’ role as an advocate helped one client to stay independent for five additional years. She has visited the elderly widow since July of 1995. The senior is chair/bed bound, and unable to work or perform any activities necessary to live independently. Stores referred her to various support services, and the client now has Stores to care for her during the day as well as a nighttime live-in caregiver. This elderly woman has delayed the usual nursing home option due to the care and concern of Stores.
During the past several years, Margaret Stores’ health has worsened due to a heart condition. She must be on oxygen 24 hours per day and has numerous visits to the hospital. Despite her own concerns, she is still determined to help others. You still may see her, on any given day, at a client’s home with a backpack of oxygen on her back cooking a meal or shopping at a nearby store.