The second oldest of four children, Fernando was no stranger to hard work and to working hard.
As he grew up, he labored in factories making jeans, bags and more. He eventually moved on to manage four apartments then found work as a construction worker. He ultimately retired in 2014, unaware of the dark days ahead that would consume him.
Fernando fell into depression wanting nothing to do with anyone. He became somewhat of a recluse keeping to himself in his apartment and rarely leaving; not even to see his children nor his four grandchildren. His children were unsure of what to do to help their father recuperate. This life of hopelessness continued for three more years for Fernando.
While on a walk in January 2017, Fernando found SBSS. Cautiously curious, he started slow seeing which activities and programs caught his interest. He also discovered that the agency provided direct services for seniors and older adults. He benefited from the support of his social worker, Miguel, who helped Fernando set up his health insurance and Social Security Income benefits. Miguel also connected Fernando with different activities at SBSS’ senior centers.
“I have a lot of appreciation for SBSS. And the day that I leave, I’ll never forget what has been done for me,” said Fernando.
Fernando is in a much better place now as he has embraced a positive lifestyle committed to a fit mind and body. Mornings begin with a 6 a.m. daily run. He regularly attends computer classes and participates in karaoke and playing billiards.
“I lost the battle not the war.” Fernando is grateful to SBSS for helping him recuperate from depression.
Fernando’s new goal is to live in the present, preferring to be happy and not dwell on the past.
“For me, what happened yesterday doesn’t interest me. A lot of the time, we live in the past. We think about what happened yesterday, the week prior. It doesn’t do me any good because it already happened. Good or bad, it already happened.”
Help us build our team of senior care case managers to provide older adult counseling, maintain reassurance calls, and increase social services to prevent older adults from the grips of depression and hopelessness. Please donate and give hope today.
Imagine waking up paralyzed, suffered two strokes and two back surgeries then told you had dystonia, a nerve and muscle disorder, would you desire to live your best life?
Vidilia Kinsey does and that’s exactly what she’s doing at St. Barnabas Senior Services.
No stranger to illness, Vidilia’s health began to decline in 1999 and yet she will not let her circumstances limit her motivation to live life forward.
“I refuse to be confined to a wheelchair, a portable potty, a walker and a hospital bed with medicine on the side. If you’re positive when you get sick, it’s still you,” said Vidilia. “I have so much to offer others.”
On her milestone 60th birthday, Vidilia arrived at SBSS to see what the senior services agency had to offer. She discovered more than she expected.
“We are like kids up in here. We can laugh out loud, we can talk. And everybody respects everybody. Everyone has a different personality, but they are friendly people. Everyone is hanging out. Nobody cares about what time it is. I like Zumba. I love to dance, to move all the time.”
Aside from Zumba, Vidilia bowls with friends! Well, virtual reality bowling on Xbox Kinect but nonetheless stays active and strengthens her mobility in the company of other seniors through gaming.
Ask us and we’d say that SBSS not only gave Vidilia a place to rehabilitate, but a safe and supportive community to stabilize herself. Oh, and Vidilia, we agree; you do have so much to offer others!
Help us transform the lives of seniors like Vidilia through our Fitness Club and social activities. Please donate and give the gift of joy today.
It’s often perceived that seniors volunteer in doing simple things to pass the time after retirement, or that they hold on to old and familiar values when it comes to important issues.
Meet Sylvia McBride, an active SBSS AGEnt for Change and advocate.
“I’m officially retired, but always ready to do a little work if somebody needs it.”
Sylvia passionately advocates for seniors to register and vote on important issues such as improved living conditions in senior homes, affordable housing, and ensuring senior entitlements are secure.
“We’ve been getting out the vote amongst the many senior populations in our centers because we want to make sure seniors are part of the voting process,” said Sylvia. “We think it’s very important that we as seniors get our voice out there and that we be heard.”
Ever since she got involved with St. Barnabas Senior Services in 2014, Sylvia has a renewed sense of purpose and feels almost as active as when she was employed full-time.
She is a self-described active senior who learned to prioritize her time to become more efficient in her community outreach.
“I would love to have others come and join us in our mission; it just enriches your life so much! I feel very happy at this time of life,” said Sylvia.
Help us empower more senior care advocates like Sylvia today through our AGEnts for Change skill-building advocacy programs. Gift a sense of purpose and donate today.