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Chatham Council on Aging expands storage of equipment that helps many

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2015

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Pittsboro, NC - "Thank you for the use of the mattress for my Dad and for all the help you have given both my Mom and Dad."

"I am a diabetic and both of my legs and feet were in very bad shape. I knew I would soon lose them-they were so swollen and infected. Within two weeks of receiving the wheelchair from you, a 'miracle.'"

These statements represent a few of the many expressions of thanks from seniors and their families who have benefited from the equipment that the Chatham County Council on Aging makes available.

Such efforts are only possible when individuals and organizations donate a wide range of items (new and used) that the Council then loans to seniors and others in need. While this equipment often helps older adults remain living safely and more independently at home, the Council also provides some items to improve the quality of life of residents in local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Examples of helpful donated equipment include: hospital beds and mattresses, wheelchairs, hoyer lifts, shower chairs, raised toilet seats, walkers, canes, and many other assistive devices and mobility aids.

While this is an important service that the Council has offered for some time, its capacity has been limited for several reasons. A major challenge had been limited space to store such items as well as the need for additional volunteers to help provide this service.

Dennis Streets, director of the Council on Aging, reports that a generous donation has provided a new accessory building at the Eastern Chatham Senior Center in Pittsboro. "It will allow us to store much more equipment for use by our seniors and others in need." The grant came from the Carolina Meadows Community Grants Program.

Amy Gorely, director of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach at Carolina Meadows, emphasized, "We saw this as a significant community need, and appreciate the Council's leadership in making this vital service available to seniors throughout the county. Carolina Meadows is pleased to contribute to this important cause and encourage others in the community to support the Council in this work."

Butch Phillips of Foscoe Trading Company also assisted with securing the accessory storage building.

While excited about the increased storage capacity, Streets said, "We rely on the help of volunteers to provide this service. We have no funding for dedicated staff support to provide this equipment service."

The Council on Aging appeals for volunteers to assist in managing this important community service under the leadership two volunteers. Dr. Gerald Strope, a board member for the Council on Aging and a volunteer, explains, "I want to do my part to support this important service and assure that the equipment we loan is in good operating condition and safe for use. We definitely need the help of others to provide quality service to community members in need."

The volunteers would help with such tasks as: inventory and organize the equipment; assure that the equipment is clean, operable and safe; make needed equipment repairs; handle pickup and delivery of items; assist those with questions about the availability and use of equipment; publicize the service; coordinate other volunteers; and other related duties.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Megan Adkins at the Council on Aging at 919-542-4512 or Megan.Adkins@chathamcoa.org< mailto:Megan.Adkins@chathamcoa.org>. You can also apply to volunteer through the Council on Aging website at http://www.chathamcouncilonaging.org/Volunteer.

If you have questions about the service or have items to donate, contact Alan Russo or Ethan Lechner at 919-542-4512, or Vickie Cheek at 919-742-3975. Monetary donations to the Council are tax deductible. The Council will provide a letter to those donating equipment acknowledging receipt of the items.

 
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