Several of Project HOPE volunteers in Kathmandu, Nepal, have spent the past few days helping at the Hope Heritage Senior Center. The center focuses most of their efforts on Alzheimer's and dementia care but also have been taking on more critical patients since the massive earthquake on April 25th. They currently have 16 residents and five daycare clients but would like to expand their operations and have looked to Project HOPE for assistance in patient care and expertise in helping with future planning. The facility's director has been seeking out seniors left without homes or families after the earthquakes, so their numbers are expected to rise soon.
Located in a nice but normal residential house in a quiet neighborhood of Kathmandu, the facility is not designed for senior citizens but their staff is making due. Their clients include two stroke victims and several with various forms of neurodegenerative diseases, mainly Alzheimer's. Non-resident patients live at home with their families at night, but because of these diseases, spend their days in the care and watchful eye of the senior center. Two older men with Alzheimer's, one who use to work for the UN, are always at each other's side exploring the garden, at meals, and even insist on sharing the same room at night.
Project HOPE volunteer nurses Cherri, Nick, and Monica have spent several days helping at the senior center assisting with baths, wound care, and patient mobility. Cherri and Monica had a challenging patient on their first day. This older gentleman, crippled by age and a hip problem, had lost his house in the earthquake and hasn't been able to contact any family in the aftermath. He refused to get out of bed and reported through a translator that he was only interested in laying there and dying. The following morning he was far more responsive, especially when offered a bath. With extremely limited mobility, Nick and Cherri weren't sure how they would get him outside to the balcony where the bucket of warm water was waiting. With the use of a walker and some assistance, it ended up he could make the trip outside and back very slowly, delighting himself in the process. Freshly cleaned and back in bed, he was all smiles and appreciative of their help. This marked such progress that Nick was able to successfully walk him in circles on the balcony the following day.
Through connections with Handicap International, Project HOPE has been able to organize the donation of more walkers and other equipment to help with patient care and mobility at the Hope Heritage Senior Center. Handicap International will also start a physical therapy routine desperately needed by their residents, especially the stroke victims. It is excellent to see the senior citizens of Nepal having such strong advocates during a complicated and challenging time for their country.
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