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Elder Friends Program Needs Volunteers as List of Seniors Grows

Ryan Loyd
Texas Public Radio

Familiarity with simple things is what 84-year-old Lois Lohff cherishes most these days. Lohff used to work with senior citizens herself, and is now in the role of the one being helped. Over coffee each week, she and Sue Vara talk about their lives, their commonalities, and their plans for the future.

While enjoying a cup of coffee with the two friends, you’ll see Sue and Lois are quite a pair.

“I look forward to it every Thursday," said Vara, a companion with Christian Senior Services' Elder Friends program. "It’s a great outlet for her but it’s a very rewarding and positive experience for me too.”

Elder Friends is a program connecting adults with the elderly population in the area who may not have friends or family members close by. Each week, Lois and Sue get together to catch up at the coffee shop, and Sue regularly brings Lois along during family time.

“It helps you to be more appreciative of your health and things you probably would take for granted, like walking, I know, is difficult for Lois," said Vara.

That’s because Lohff had two broken ankles, so she and Lohff walk around, shop and have a great time.

“Really, what she’s doing me a favor is therapy because the walking is the best therapy that I could have," said Lohff. "And having someone to talk to. Having a therapist come in is not the same. So this is the greatest therapy for me, besides that she’s a good pal.  She’s a good kid.”

Elder Friends is a program by Christian Senior Services, the same organization that does Meals on Wheels. They have a waiting list of elderly people like Lohff who need a friend.

From her time at the thrift shop, she knows people don’t like to talk about being lonely. “There are a good many," said Lohff. "A lot of people will not admit it.”

But she acknowledges it, and thinks others should too. Many seniors are waiting for a friend, and the program is backlogged. To sign up or get more information, call 210-599-7405.