PSR offers needed help

Published 8:30 am Saturday, February 17, 2024

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Mary Anderson always had a heart for caregiving. For many years of her life, she looked after older people in her community in Buckingham.

Now 64 and retired, Anderson needed help herself, so she turned to Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging, Inc. (PSR) for assistance.

PSR provides supportive services and advocacy for persons 60 years of age and older in the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. The agency offers home delivered meals, congregate meals at senior centers in each county, homemaker aid services, legal services, insurance counseling, patient advocacy, referral services and minor home repairs. All services are designed to help seniors lead independent lives and remain safely in their homes.

“I had electric heat, but the unit burnt up, and something was wrong with the pump,” Anderson said. “It would cost $4,000 to $5,000 to fix it. That’s why I called PSR.”

On a fixed income that didn’t allow for any extras, Anderson couldn’t afford a new heating system. With only a small portable heater to heat the entire house, her health was declining. Making matters worse, she also suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has had pneumonia seven times in the last few years.

PSR’s Repair Program was ready to help Anderson obtain propane heat, but there was another obstacle. Anderson owed the county back taxes, which prevented the contractor from obtaining the necessary permit. 

“Our clients are people who’ve worked all their lives, but their income hasn’t kept up with the cost of living,” PSR Executive Director Justine Young explained. “They may own their own home but now can’t afford the upkeep.”

PSR stepped in to help.

“We were able to get a church and some very generous people to pay Anderson’s back taxes,” PSR Director of Nutrition and Transportation Jordan Miles said. “We’re thankful for those anonymous angels who not only removed a financial barrier for our client but also allowed the appropriate permitting for Ms. Anderson to get adequate heat.” 

PSR Program Assistant Maliek Hubbard was key in helping Anderson get into the program and receive the help she needed. He recently visited Anderson on a blustery winter day and found a new propane-fueled heater keeping the room warm and toasty. Anderson’s smile was just as warm.

“I never could have managed on my own,” she said. “I’m grateful to PSR and those angels who helped me out when I needed it most.”

That, as Anderson knows, is what caregivers do best.