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Foundation for Senior Living a ‘lifesaver’ for elderly, disabled

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Foundation for Senior Living / CDA

Three days a week, a driver from the Monsignor Edward J. Ryle Life Center in Phoenix comes to pick up Charles “Chuck” Hanford for a day of activities.

The 72-year-old retired newspaper editor has been going to the adult day health services center since a stroke seven years earlier paralyzed the left side of his body.

The center is one of four that are licensed and operated by the Foundation for Senior Living, a not-for-profit organization that receives crucial funding from the Diocese of Phoenix’s annual Charity and Development Appeal.

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, FSL served nearly 30,000 people through programming designed for seniors, family caregivers, and adults and young adults with disabilities.

Hanford, who prefers to take his lunch and pass on the hot meal, looks forward to socializing with his friends at the Ryle Center, but maybe not as much as his wife, Jane, 71.

“When you’ve been married as long as we have — 50 years in August — you’ve heard your husband’s stories 75,000 times. But here he has fresh meat,” she laughed. “People don’t know anything about day care, and there’s a real need for people to understand that this is available.”

The day health centers go beyond board games, entertainment and arts and crafts; they provide individualized care plans, therapy and nursing supervision in a family-like atmosphere.

Foundation for Senior Living

The Foundation for Senior Living is devoted to preserving dignity and promoting quality of life for all seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers. They offer the widest variety of services and maintain the highest standards of excellence.

More: fsl.org, (602) 285-1800

Charity and Development Appeal

Learn about how the annual appeal assists those in need. Call (602) 354-2218.

Like any other state-licensed nursing facility, each center is staffed with registered nurses, social workers and nursing assistants.

Once a week Hanford gets a shower, a nicety of life he can’t enjoy at home because of his wheelchair; the shower is on the second floor.

“It’s been a lifesaver for us,” Jane said. “Because of programs like this, Chuck has been able to stay home. Talk about the ultimate Christian charity. They are truly there to serve.”

Mary Pat Sharp, RN, Ryle Center director, said adult day health centers help to bridge the gap for the working spouse or child in need of supervised care for a loved one, in lieu of a nursing home.

“We can provide that respite for the caregiver while providing optimal health care,” she said. “And the exercises, games and socialization have positive effects.”

Last year, the CDA awarded the FSL $540,000, which is dispersed among its 16 other services, from adult foster care and housing to assisted group living and home care.

“The challenges of maintaining services are simply more complex than ever before,” said Guy Mikkelsen, president and CEO of the Foundation for Senior Living.

“Given the aging of our society, however, we have no choice but to pursue creative and smart ways to maintain high quality services and build sustainability to provide for future clients,” he said.

One important piece to the building block is CDA donations. Because of the generosity of parishioners, people like Charles are afforded the opportunity to live at home while maintaining quality of life.

“People don’t realize their money goes to help a guy who lost his leg in the war, or someone who is elderly,” said Nancy Gulino.

Both she and her husband, Alan, are in wheelchairs due to multiple sclerosis.

Alan, who attends the Glendale adult day health center, now needs help swallowing his food to avoid choking.

“People don’t know Alan Gulino, but they need to know their dollars are helping,” Nancy said. To some people, it’s an envelope and some cash, but to others it’s a lifeline.”

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