MAINTAINING INDEPENDENCE DURING HER GOLDEN YEARS
Mary moved to San Antonio 81 years ago, when she was only 12 years old. In San Antonio, she found not just her new home, but a loving community that would serve as a hub for the family she would later have. She made longtime friends, met her husband, raised her children and found where she truly belonged in San Antonio. At age 93 today, Mary is still a strong, independent person who is proud to live alone in her own home.
“I thank the Lord every day that I can live by myself,” Mary says. “It’s a blessing!”
Five years ago, Mary suffered a devastating fall in her home. She waited for hours before a neighbor noticed that she hadn’t opened her curtains like she routinely did. Her neighbor called Mary’s daughter, who lives out of state and Mary finally received help.
Mary’s husband passed away years ago and many of her remaining family members live in different parts of the country. After her fall, it became clear to her family that she needed home assistance of some kind. They considered all their options. Mary was determined to remain independent and not move out of her home where she would have to live with others.
“Especially at 93, everyone should have the chance to be able to live on their own,” Mary says.
A breast cancer survivor who has always done everything for herself, Mary was not ready to relinquish her independence.
That’s when her daughter reached out to one of United Way’s Impact Partners, Family Service Association.
Family Service Association has sent a staff member every week to bring Mary groceries, prepare meals, tidy her home and perform other daily tasks that most people take for granted.
“There’s a lot that I can’t do,” Mary said. “Not because I don’t want to, I just can’t do it.”
Initially reluctant to ask for help, Mary now loves her weekly visits with her representative from Family Service. She has become friends with everyone who comes to provide in-home help for her, as it empowers her to continue living independently.
“It means a lot to people like me because there’s a lot of people that depend on home help,” Mary said.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County’s Strong Individuals and Families Impact Area invests in programs that help individuals like Mary regain stability.
Traumatic events can derail an individual or family’s otherwise self-sufficient lives. Adverse childhood experiences, crime, abuse, isolation, addiction, mental illness and chronic stress are just some of the events that block individuals from supporting themselves or others.
Helping individuals and families maintain self-sufficiency makes our community better. It allows individuals like Mary to be the best versions of themselves. For Mary, she has been able to remain independent while living on her own for five years with in-home help.
“With the help of United Way, I can live by myself. It means a lot to me.”
Watch Mary’s story on our YouTube playlist.