Need for ServicesIn Minnehaha County the number of people over the age of 65 in 2000 was 16,000, comprising 11% of the total population. By the year 2025, it is projected that this number will more than double to 40,000, comprising 20% of the total population. Many of these individuals will continue to live independently in their homes. Nationwide, of those who continue to live in their homes, about 30% live alone and 75% are female. The recent National Survey of Older Americans showed that nearly 25% of older Americans report they currently have difficulty doing daily activities because of their age, illness or disability and many receive no help from family, friends or others in theircommunity.
In December of 2003, United Way surveyed older adults who participate in our partner agencies’ programs to see if they needed assistance with household chores or transportation. When asked “would you be interested in a volunteer helping you with any household chores,” 67% responded yes. When asked “would you be interested in a volunteer driving you to an appointment or other necessary location,” 47% responded yes.
Workers on WheelsThe goal of WOW is to help older adults remain living independently in their homes. Through Active Generations, the program coordinator recruits and matches volunteers with older adults who are unable to do household chores such as changing light bulbs, cleaning windows, lawn raking, light housekeeping, minor home repairs, installing batteries, etc. In addition, the program recruits volunteers to provide transportation for older adults needing to get to medical and other important appointments.
Older adults over the age of 60 who have a need for assistance are eligible. On a case by case basis other individuals with a disability or who are not able to complete household tasks are also eligible. Through the use of volunteers, WOW is offered to older adults as a free service. If individuals have the financial means to hire services from a business, they are encouraged to do so instead of utilizing volunteers from the WOW program. Clients are referred to WOW through churches, non-profits, or government agencies; and, clients can refer themselves.
VolunteersAnyone over the age of 18 is encouraged to volunteer. Youth groups and individuals under 18 will are also able to volunteer with adult supervision. A criminal background check will becompleted on all volunteers and if the volunteer is going to provide transportation, his/her driving record will also be checked. Volunteers are required to complete training before they begin to volunteer.
Rake the TownRake the Town is held for two days each fall, during the month of October. Volunteers are recruited to rake lawns for older adults who are not able to do it themselves.
More InformationFor more information about Workers on Wheels or Rake the Town, please contact Active Generations by calling 333-3317 or visit their website.