When Noelle Stressman saw an elderly gentleman walking to the Laundromat, she wanted to help. She realized that many senior citizens are on their own, without friends or family.

She turned to the Visiting Nurse Association’s Eldercare program, which was created to meet the needs of elderly people who sometimes need a friend or an extra pair of hands. Volunteers are matched with senior citizens and asked to make weekly visits and phone calls.

Noelle, a neighborhood resident, spends her days working with developmentally delayed children as an early intervention specialist. She spends her Sunday afternoons with Lorena Combs, a 93-year-old woman who owns two cats and loves the Dallas Cowboys.

Lorena has lived in her home for more than 20 years and doesn’t plan to leave. With the help of a volunteer like Noelle, Lorena can enjoy her home and her independence.

They spend their time together watching Cowboy games, playing cards, eating lunch and talking. Noelle also helps Lorena sort mail, balance her checkbook, set the VCR and use the microwave.

“I think she’s used to doing for others, but I tell her it’s her turn now,” Noelle says. “I’m here to help her.”

Lorena appreciates the time Noelle has spent with her during the last year and looks forward to many more visits and phone calls.

“Noelle is my visiting angel,” Lorena says. “I just enjoy her company so much.” Noelle says that Lorena isn’t the only one who benefits, “I was never very close with my grandparents, but now I have a grandmother and a friend,” Noelle says.

The Eldercare program needs volunteers like Noelle to help neighborhood senior citizens. For information on how to help, call 689-0668.

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