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WISE and Healthy Aging’s WISE Connections volunteer Barbara Browning is making a difference in people’s lives, including her neighbor Adele.
Courtesy photo
WISE and Healthy Aging’s WISE Connections volunteer Barbara Browning is making a difference in people’s lives, including her neighbor Adele.

Health, Senior, Santa Monica

Make A Difference By Volunteering At WISE & Healthy Aging

Posted Aug. 11, 2012, 11:00 pm

Mirror Staff

Adele is an 86-year-old Santa Monica resident who, due to a stroke, has trouble with tasks around her home and driving, activities that she use to do so effortlessly.

Without any children nearby, Adele did not have anyone to call on.

Like most older adults in her situation, Adele would like to stay in her home as long as possible as it’s where she has lived for more than 60 years with wonderful memories of time spent with her late husband and raising her two children.

Adele found a solution: WISE & Healthy Aging’s WISE Connections, which linked her to a neighbor and volunteer, Barbara Browning.

Barbara is a 68-year-old recent retiree who wanted to stay engaged in her community and make a difference in people’s lives.

As a WISE Connections volunteer, Barbara provides support that Adele needs to remain in her home.

The support needed is often a simple task, a task that most people wouldn’t think twice about doing, taking their ability for granted; but in the case of some, getting help with such tasks can make the difference in their ability to remain living in their own home.

“Knowing that by devoting a few hours here and there to help Adele with some errands enables her to stay put in her own home is deeply gratifying,” Barbara said.

Twice a month, Barbara drives Adele to the grocery store and carries the groceries into her home for her.

If Adele needs help changing a light bulb or grabbing something that requires climbing onto a step stool, Barbara helps so Adele is not at risk of falling.

If Barbara is unavailable because she is busy or away, WISE Connections calls upon another volunteer so Barbara does not feel obligated or guilty for being busy.

Based on the national “village” concept, WISE & Healthy Aging’s WISE Connections provides support to older adults wishing to age in place.

Started in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood more than 10 years ago, there are now more than 150 “villages” across the country.

The popular initiative is a neighbor-helping-neighbor program.

It relies on community members to lend a helping hand to their neighbor in need.

With more than 120 members, WISE Connections has a great need for volunteers to help with tasks as Barbara does, along with many other needs.

For more information about volunteering, contact Rebecca Ruben at 310.394.9871, ext. 436 or email

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