Salt Lake County is aging, and some projections show that, by the year 2004, there will be more residents in the county older than age 60 than elementary-school-age children. That's why LifeCare, a private nonprofit agency, is offering to help senior citizens with jobs they can't do for themselves.
This week LifeCare is well on its way toward its goal of having volunteers fill 8,000 bags of leaves for senior citizens and people with disabilities.According to Josh Pedersen, coordinator for the "Fall Leaf Haul" project, the group has about four times as many requests for leaf-raking as it did last year, but fortunately it has more than double the volunteers it had last year, too.
"There's usually a waiting list," Pedersen said, but he's hopeful volunteers can handle the load this year.
Still, the group could use another 500 volunteers to add to its force of 1,000 people.
"People used to have to do without. A lot of things went undone" before LifeCare came along, Pedersen said.
Besides the leaf cleanup, the group assists seniors with minor home repairs, snow removal and lawn mowing. They even deliver food boxes to the elderly.
Pedersen estimates that each year LifeCare assists about 3,500 senior citizens and people with disabilities in Salt Lake County.
However, he believes some 15,000 county residents have at least some impairment in their mobility that prevents them from doing things like leaf raking for themselves.
"Volunteering is really easy," he said, explaining a time to do volunteer work can meet just about anyone's schedule.
He also strongly encourages neighbors to look after each other and to strive to help those who need it.
LifeCare's current volunteers include church groups, Brownie troops, college and high school students and others. Individual volunteers are also needed.
Leaves will be raked at the homes of needy seniors through Saturday, Nov. 20. To volunteer or for more information on LifeCare, call 887-1244.