Earth Links is working hard in 2012 to expand our child and family health programs, including programs that serve elder communities. Although needs and resources vary from country to country, the growing demands of the elderly need to be met with effective innovation and compassion within economic constraints. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), elderly care costs could treble by the year 2050, and “countries must face up to the challenge of caring for aging populations.” We at Earth Links are committed to participating in programs in which elders are listened to and given the chance to shape the organizations and programs that will enhance the quality of and dignity in their lives.

TV room at the Jinotepe Senior Center, 2009. Photo by Doolie Brown.

Inspired by our work with Linda Robinson and her Global Elder Care Project, as well as our work with Three Americas, Inc. and the Santa Cruz Sister Cities program at the Jinotepe Senior Center in Nicaragua (Hogar de Ancianos Dr. Agustín Sánchez Vigil de Jinotepe), we see exciting new opportunities to help seniors and their communities. We are assisting with the incorporation of a new nongovernmental organization Global Elder Care focusing on support for elder care programs internationally and at the same time working with Linda on an art, music, and cultural exchange program between an elder care facility in Santa Cruz and the Hogar in Jinotepe. Student interns will be developing activity programs together with the seniors, working in their respective countries and elder communities.

The Jinotepe Senior Center, 2009. Photo by Doolie Brown.

Money from Earth Links and Three Americas have been committed for 2012 for a Nicaraguan university student intern, who will work with the Global Elder Project intern in Santa Cruz. For just $700 for one year, a student intern from the university in Managua will help the Hogar de Ancianos in Jinotepe with new activities programs. The Jessie F. Richardson Foundation, a wonderful nonprofit in Clackamas, Oregon, will be responsible for the overall design of the activities program in Nicaragua as part of their model for elder care in Nicaragua. Art supplies and Flip video cameras have been donated through Gifts In Kind International and TechSoup and we are looking for donations of portable computers for Nicaragua and desktop computers for Santa Cruz to make it easier to exchange photos, videos, and personal stories.