In 1974, a United Way pilot program, United HomeCare, aimed to help families care for their elderly and disabled relatives in the comfort of their own home. Since then, United HomeCare has stayed true to that mission as an independent organization — and now a United Way impact partner — by serving more than 4,000 older adults and disabled adults annually.
“Remaining at home is an older adult’s preferred choice,” says Alina Palenzuela, outreach & communication manager and assistant to the president at United HomeCare. “Imagine living all these years working so hard, then finding yourself losing your mobility and independence. United HomeCare — through United Way’s vision —has been able to fulfill this for older adults so that they can stay at home.”
United HomeCare, a Medicare-certified agency, has served thousands of families and older adults in our community since its beginning. Through funding from our United Way, as well as state and federal funding, the majority of services provided are free; everything from cooking and cleaning to running errands, grocery shopping, help with hygiene and more. The agency provides quality-of-life solutions in the comfort of home settings to those that need it most.
According to United HomeCare President and CEO Carlos Martinez, the older adults served by their programs are often those who have spent years serving our community. “Were’ talking about former teachers, first responders, day care workers, office workers,” he says. “These are people who may have outlived their savings but who want to stay home and enjoy what they have worked so hard for. We make that possible.”
The older adult population is dramatically increasing. All research studies have indicated that older adults have outpaced younger adults — and it’s going to continue in that trend for the next decade. “It’s like a silver tsunami, and we need to prepare for this,” says Palenzuela.
United HomeCare is trying to raise public awareness to help people prepare before the time comes when some will need United HomeCare. While most of United HomeCare’s business is generated through word of mouth, the Alliance for Aging refers older adults to the program.
“Studies show that older adults thrive in their home surrounded by their memories and their loved ones,” says Jacqueline Torre, vice president of administration at United HomeCare. “Our goal is to help them with the activities of daily living. Whatever it is they need help with, we want to be there to help them.”
Meet Filiberto, a United Way Golden Wishes recipient and a United HomeCare client.