Hope Understanding Assistance
WYNS offers hope, understanding, and assistance to its members. The initials stand for When You Need Someone (WYNS). Its members are people living alone or couples who have difficulty getting about, or sometimes, just sometimes, need a third person.
The idea came to me after after reading an article first published in People magazine in February 2022 titled, “Italian Woman, 70, Found Sitting at a Table in Her Home 2 Years After Her Death.” Her mummified body was slumped in a chair at her kitchen table. Her name was Marinella Beretta. She had not been seen by surrounding neighbors for at least two and a half years." No one checked on her and the neighbors assumed she had moved away. The local village newspaper said this, "The real sadness is not that the others did not notice her death. It is that they did not realize Marinella Beretta was alive."
Such sadness. I was overtaken, like a large wave. Such sadness, it made me me think, “What can I do to make sure we never have a Marinella in my hometown or surrounding area. I do not want Sandra or me to become Marinella. After much thought, it came to me during an early morning waking - WYNS:
WYNS… a way for members to communicate, check on one another, and offer moderate assistance.
The quickest way to establish this program is to approach a group which has a membership list that includes emails and phone numbers.
A presentation is made to the leadership explaining the ‘why’s and how’s.’ Then, if sold, the leadership communicates with the membership.
The ‘how’s’ are fairly simple: A chart is generated presenting the type of services members can volunteer for, the neighborhoods they are willing to navigate, phone number, emails, any special comments. Here are a few examples:
Call or Text each morning or evening to say, “I’m up!” or “I’m going to bed.” My mother and I did this for a few years. She did not have a smart phone, but she would call each morning and let the phone ring twice. The same after she was in bed. For another day or night, I had peace knowing she was safe.
Need a Ride to and or from somewhere. It could be to a doctor, grocery store, dentist, drop off your car and need a ride back home. No one wants to sit at a car dealership for hours when there is an alternative. Have you ever had to drop your car off and wonder how you were going to get home? A $40 cab fare (home and back) would not be necessary with WYNS. One could even arrange for a different person to take and pick up. There is a lot of built-in flexibility. Plus, just the travel conversation might be comforting.
Pick Up a prescription, a small amount of much needed groceries, or a package picked up or dropped off. Pay a bill that was forgotten, and it must be paid…now! A scenario: Paul: “Hey John, I need a couple things from the grocery store and my back is out.” John: “Sure, can you wait until tomorrow; I’m doing my shopping then.” Paul: “Great, I’ll have the cash waiting.”
Area designation: The chart would be set up so people could designate the areas they would be willing to travel to and from.
Financial arrangements would be between the members: gas money (if any), how to pay for groceries, meds, etc.
Participating Members just have to check the boxes they are interested in and let the members ‘hook up’ as needed.
More examples: I need to drop off my car to have a new muffler installed. I look at the list, find my neighborhood, who is willing to drop off and pick up and give them a call.
I’m on death’s doorstep and have no way to get my NyQuil or Imodium. My card is on file at the pharmacy, so payment is taken care of. Pick up the chart and call someone.
I had knee surgery and need coffee, milk, bread, and SPAM . Or…a ride to physical therapy. Or (you fill it in)____________. Pick up the chart and call someone.
I just need someone to check on me in the morning and at night. Or, I’m willing to receive notifications. Just look at the chart and contact someone who has ’ed the category, “I’m OK-You’re OK.”
It is not complicated. One would begin by selling the idea to anorganization, such as a Senior Center or Veterans Club. When established and successful, it could be expanded to include other organizations, and eventually people not affiliated with a group. Groups with data bases just makes set up easier.
It would be important for the group to have ownership of their chapter by establishing a (small) board to ‘tweak’ the categories to fit their needs and to constantly communicate with the members.
WYNS – Hope, Understanding, and Assistance. Death is inevitable for all of us. But no one’s life should end as Marinella Beretta’s did…“The real sadness is not that the others did not notice her death. It is that they did not realize Marinella Beretta was alive."
Yes, there are weaknesses and flaws in my idea, but they can be worked out. We are all in this together, this thing called life and death, so why don’t we get into this together. I hope you will give this project some thought and if you become like-minded and just a step beyond mere interest, please share it. I would be willing to meet with anyone or group truly interested in bringing WYNS to fruition.
When we were 20, we could never fathom being 70. nBut it is here and beyond. Sooner or later, we all need someone.
Looking forward to your comments and questions.
Wishing you well and safety,