Wellington Cares, a nonprofit organization supporting senior citizens in the Wellington community, held its third annual luncheon Friday, Oct. 6 at the Wanderers Club.
Wellington Cares founder Kathy Foster thanked everyone for attending.
“We are just so grateful with all of the confusion that has gone on in the last several weeks between hurricanes and tragedies that we were able to pull this off, but it would not have happened without all of your support,” Foster said.
She recognized Wellington Cares board members for their devotion over the past seven years. “I am eternally grateful to all of you,” Foster said.
Supportive services and programs for those over 65 living in Wellington include transportation, basic home maintenance, social outings, doctor visits, hospitality calls, shopping and more, which are provided by Wellington Cares to more than 100 participants.
“Over the last 12 months, our 52 volunteers have given more than 1,150 hours of their time to serve this community,” Foster said. “They are the heart and soul of what Wellington Cares does… Thank you for your service.”
The nonprofit’s first food pantry was able to be started over the past year through support from Extraordinary Charities and the Great Charity Challenge, Foster said, offering attendees the opportunity to host a collection box.
Meanwhile, a Palm Healthcare Foundation grant is helping Wellington Cares create Palm Beach County Cares, a regional umbrella organization.
As a result, the program will be available to other municipalities that may be interested in providing services to its seniors, Foster said.
Beverlee Miller Raymond from Extraordinary Charities was pleased to support the Wellington Cares mission.
“We were formed five years ago to create exposure for small charities in Palm Beach County,” Raymond said. “Obviously, looking at this room, they’ve got the formula down. They do very good things in this county, especially in the western communities, and now they’re branching through the entire community, which is totally impressive with all the volunteers that they have, and they have a very minimal staff. I want to say Wellington Cares is just really an amazing organization.”
Extraordinary Charities bought hearing aids over the summer for a Wellington Cares participant.
Robbin Lee, CEO of Wellington Regional Medical Center, said the hospital has expanded its programs and is an accredited chest pain center with resuscitation, a comprehensive stroke center, a designated lung cancer screening center, a breast imaging center of distinction and holds advanced certification for total hip and total knee replacements.
“We hope that’s going to give you some comfort that we’re very capable of taking care of you and that we’re constantly regulated to make sure we’re the best that we can be,” Lee said, stressing that the hospital is working to support the community and Wellington Cares.
Lee introduced guest speaker Dr. Leonard Hock Jr., chief medical officer of TrustBridge Palliative Care and Advanced Illness Management.
Hock explained that various levels of assistance for seniors are needed, likening it to a scale of a percentage, giving the example that while the audience functions close to 100 percent, someone needing a caregiver might only function at 40 percent normal ability. At 40 percent, 24-hour care would be needed for the senior, be it for scheduling appointments or medication, and possibly moving to an assisted-living environment.
“At 40 percent, there are several specialists and several prescriptions,” he said. “Now they really can’t be at home, and they certainly can’t be alone. Here’s the time where Wellington Cares and your community really steps up for your neighbors who need that kind of support.”
Hock said that he has told doctors that the most important thing to do is plan for the next step, recognizing that with performance decline, frailty and age come increased needs for medical care, attention, social care, prescription care, support and more.
“Wellington Cares is here in your community. It’s a rare gift for the community that you have that,” he said.
Event sponsors included title sponsor Extraordinary Charities; presenting sponsor Wellington Regional Medical Center; advocate sponsor Equestrian Sport Productions; valet sponsor Florida Power & Light; gift bags sponsor Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith; media sponsor the Town-Crier; table sponsors Effective Solutions, Floridian Community Bank, K Foster Designs, Terner Elder Law and the Village of Wellington; as well as friends of Wellington Cares sponsors Admiralty Home Health Care, Horizon Pool & Patio, Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, NYY Steakhouse, Sexton Engineering, the Royal Inn and TrustBridge.
For information about Wellington Cares and how to get involved, call (561) 568-8818 or visit www.wellingtoncaresorg.com.