For most seniors, living comfortably in their own home while continuing to lead active lives is a priority. But due to various circumstances, that’s not always possible, and many seniors find the only option is to move to an assisted living facility.
Thanks to South Bay Village, now there’s another option. South Bay Village is a volunteer-run service that helps seniors stay in their homes, remain independent, and continue to do the activities they love.
Founded in Torrance in 2013 by Ghislaine, “Ges” Davis, South Bay Village provides transportation to doctors’ appointments and errands, friendly visits for conversation, and even handymen for minor home repairs. “I don’t get paid for this, but it’s the best job in the world,” says Ges, South Bay Village’s Executive Director and CEO.
“Nothing is more rewarding to me than helping others. And when you work in non-profit, you find there are a lot of people out there who care. I have volunteers call and thank me for the chance to be of service.”
South Bay Village is available to those 55 years of age and older. In addition to driving seniors to medical appointments, social functions and other destinations, the volunteers provide assistance with home chores, gardening, computer training, paperwork, pet care and more.
They also serve as walking buddies and companions for cards, puzzles and other games. Hollywood Riviera resident Julian Chasin regularly volunteers to assist in the office and helps a Village member, who is blind, do her grocery shopping.
“I didn’t get a chance to help my elderly parents because they were out of state, so this is one way I give back,” said Julian, who is a retired computer system engineer.
His wife Chiyoko, who is also a volunteer, visits a 99-year -old member to converse in her native language, Japanese. Sometimes volunteers are needed to give caregivers a much-deserved break, such as one local woman who depends on South Bay Village to help care for her husband, who has Parkinson’s, while she takes a rest. South Bay Village membership costs $500 a year, or $250 for six months, and allows members to get up to six visits or transportation services per month.
“This is the best check I ever write,” says James Carney, 92, a Village member who has lived in the Riviera for 63 years. Two years ago, James put away his car keys and turned to South Bay Village to take him to his weekly barbershop visit, grocery shopping and other errands.
“I’ve made close friends with the volunteers because they are wonderful people,” he says. “And being independent in my own home is important to me.”
To learn more about South BayVillage, including how you can become a member or volunteer, call Ges at 424 -271-2304, or email her at Ghislaine@SBVill.org. You can also visit www.SouthBayVillage.org.