SteppingUp to Care for Elders in Perry, IA and Jacmel, Haiti

Food, clean water, safe shelter and medical care are essential for life. However, these critical items are not easily accessible to the elders of Haiti due to no government safety net and poverty forcing many to live a life on the streets.

Perry Lutheran Homes is working to change this destitute reality for elder citizens in Jacmel, Haiti. The first ever intergenerational eldercare home of its kind is being constructed and phase one nearing completion. Construction is being overseen by a partnering organization, Ministry in Mission, and funding for construction made possible by a Lutheran Women in Mission grant. Next door stands a vibrant orphanage filled with close to 30 children that has been successfully run for twelve years also by Ministry in Mission.

With over 62 years’ experience caring for elders and the innovative intergenerational programming with the Acorns & Oaks on-site childcare, Perry Lutheran Homes was sought after to bring this intergenerational community and eldercare home “to life” through processes, procedures, training, intergenerational programming and more.

“When I learned that Jacmel Lutheran Home was named by local Haitians involved in the project in honor of Perry Lutheran Homes, it brought tears to my eyes. To know that our innovations, expertise, programs and training will have impacts across the world is truly humbling and simply amazing,” expresses Melissa Gannon, Chief Operating Officer and Administrator for Perry Lutheran Homes.

A team of eleven will travel from Perry, IA to Jacmel, Haiti, January 9-16. This team will be comprised of senior staff members from both Perry Lutheran Homes and ministry partners Lutheran Family Service with expertise in both orphan care and mental health. Two large suitcases full of supplies and over the counter medicines will accompany each team member on their travels to help stock the bare shelves in both the eldercare home and the orphanage.

The January trip is part of a bigger vision to support Haiti’s elders. While on-site, the senior staff will be helping to assess and admit the first residents and share expertise on how to care for elderly residents in a medical setting. Training will be provided onsite to those who want to work in the home as nurses and nurse aides. Teaching will also include intergenerational programming to facilitate connection and engagement between the children who live at the orphanage and the elders in the home. Continued communication and training will be provided remotely to the staff in Jacmel by the Perry Lutheran Homes staff through the use of technology such as video chat.

“In all of this, it is our mission to serve Christ by serving others – whether near or far. With the launch of our community StepUp program last May we are reminded that we don’t need to travel far to see and serve elders in need. We have every day opportunities to StepUp and serve elders in our very own communities,” states Wanda Pritzel, Director of Philanthropy for Perry Lutheran Homes.

Community members are invited to help “Pack the Suitcases” by buying and bringing in new medical supplies and over-the-counter medications to either Perry Lutheran Homes campus – Willis campus at 2323 Willis Ave or Spring Valley campus at 501 12th St.

Items needed for both elders and orphans: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, aspirin, etc., baby aspirin, antibacterial and anti-itch creams, gauze, Band-Aids, alcohol prep pads, hand sanitizer, non-irritating soap and body wash, and non-irritating lotion.

To learn more about this mission, like and follow the Perry Lutheran Homes’ Facebook page.

About Perry Lutheran Homes
Perry Lutheran Homes, founded in 1956, is a 70 bed, 9 apartment (Willis campus), and 39 apartment (Spring Valley assisted living campus) locally owned and managed Christian Caring Community in Perry, Iowa. PLH is the recipient of several LeadingAge Iowa awards for their Meaningful Mission Projects Program, Dementia Care Communities, Caregiving, and more. PLH offers a continuum of care to accommodate changing needs: in-home care, rehabilitative therapy, assisted living, respite care, skilled nursing, intermediate and long-term care, and three levels of progressive memory care. Perry Lutheran Homes focuses on Inter-Generational living with an on-site daycare, integration into the community through robust activity programs and events, and innovations to make Perry Lutheran Homes a great choice for meaningful, purposeful and enjoyable living.