LILY was created in 2009 by Irene Zola, after the death of her mother, a stroke victim, in a traditional nursing home. She recognized that vast improvements in our nation’s eldercare were needed. A group of committed residents of Morningside Heights, New York were also deeply concerned about the welfare of their aging and frail neighbors and rallied to the cause. The organization set out and created a highly successful no-fee eldercare “village,” mobilizing volunteers and community resources to help octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centagenarians with the support they needed to live comfortably at home. In short time, LILY experienced the remarkable impact that informal visits have on the well-being of an elderly participant. Morningside Village’s 85 elderly participants and over 100 volunteers have greatly increased the visibility of the once-hidden elderly members of the community – by seeing committed volunteers walk with elderly in local stores and parks and hearing of the Village within apartment buildings – social networks in the Village have been compelled to action.
Any American must realize that there is a distinct absence of the very old in the media today and even on the streets and in the homes of families in our nation. We at LiLY believe that Americans could become more comfortable and more dedicated to ethical care for the elderly with improved exposure to them. LiLY is working with partners to create media initiatives that aim to bring into the public eye life affirming moments in the lives of elders and people who care for them. These initiatives, such as Love An Elder, aim to increase the visibility of America’s seniors, bringing them more into focus, into our culture, and eventually into our lives.
LiLY, Morningside Village volunteers, and our partners are directly involved in the roll-out of Love An Elder Day events in New York City – check back here often for photos and reports from the 2012 inaugural celebration! Or, sign-up for local news!