Friends Helping Friends support group aids seniors aging alone

HELPING ELDER ORPHANS — Judy Owings, right, director of the Prime Time Senior Center, and Stephanie Wendell look over particulars about the new Friends Helping Friends support group Wendell leads at the Prime Time Senior Center on Lovers Lane, Steubenville, on the third Monday of the month, beginning at 1 p.m. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — Are you aging alone and worried because of that?

A new support group called Friends Helping Friends aims to assist senior citizens who might need a little help because they’re an “elder orphan.”

Stephanie Wendell is facilitating the group that meets on the third Monday of the month at the Prime Time Senior Center at 300 Lovers Lane, Steubenville, beginning at 1 p.m.

The next meeting is Oct. 16.

Seniors who are “elder orphans” or aging alone because, for example, they have no family living nearby might find themselves needing help with grocery shopping, housekeeping, rides to doctors, taking care of pets, getting a daily checkup call, having a haircut at home or finding a reliable handyman, lawn care service or other need.

The new group is identifying the needs of those alone, according to Wendell, and working together toward finding solutions and resources to meet those needs.

“I have read a good bit online about the ‘elder orphan’ movement and thought a group similar in purpose would be great for our area,” Wendell said in explaining how the group got its start in recent months.

“I took the idea to Judy Owings, who also had been thinking about the same type of group,” Wendell said of Owings, center director. “Our group focuses on seniors who don’t have family nearby to help with everyday things.”

The format for the meetings includes a presenter on a relevant topic.

“Judy and I try to come up with speakers for each meeting,” Wendell said. “We also have been brainstorming to first identify our needs, then research ways to meet those needs within our community,” she added.

Goals include for group participants to make connections and friends with others in their situation and similar circumstances.

“It’s all about finding others who are aging alone and reaching out to help each other when needed,” Wendell noted, adding that “there is a group of ‘friends’ in place where seniors can hopefully find resources to meet their needs as they age.”

For information, call the center at (740) 314-5197.