Pope Francis decided to institute a Church-wide celebration of a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. The celebration begins this year on July 25. It will be held annually on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.
The Holy Father said he instituted the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly because “grandparents are often forgotten, and we forget this wealth of preserving roots and passing on” what the elderly have received.
He emphasized the importance of grandparents and grandchildren getting to know one another because “as the prophet Joel says, grandparents, seeing their grandchildren dream,” while “young people, drawing strength from their grandparents, will go forward and prophesy.”
In conjunction with the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, the Catholic Community of Waukesha, St. John Neumann, St. William, St. Joseph and St. Mary Parishes, will celebrate a Parish Wellness Clinic, opening on July 25.
According to Lydia LoCoco, D.Min., Director of Community Relations, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has partnered with St. Camillus to provide the first Wellness Clinic to serve the four parishes and provide care for older adults who are working or aging in place.
“At the 10:30 a.m. Mass, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will celebrate the Mass at St. John Neumann Parish, 2400 Les Paul Parkway, Waukesha, celebrate the elderly and grandparents, and recognize the Wellness Clinic,” she said.
The Wellness Clinic will be an essential facet of parishes in the future as there are no longer parish nurses who oversee the older members of the faith community.
“People are more and more seeking to age in place,” said LoCoco. “We don’t turn 65 and move to another, smaller place anymore. We have older adults in need of services, and the parish is the perfect place to help them because we want to take care of people pastorally. The Wellness Clinic is a great place for seniors or prime time people who can come in for blood pressure checks, health screening, healthcare education and vital checks, including weigh-ins, coordination with pharmacies and transportation.”
In addition to offering wellness services and screenings, the Parish Wellness Clinic will provide monthly healthy chats and quarterly presentations on health-related topics important to seniors. All services will be free of charge to seniors.
LoCoco added that with hospitals discharging patients sometimes just 24 hours after admittance, the elderly are often sent home alone without follow-up or children or family living nearby.
“Through the Clinic, we can get in-home house care, perhaps continuing ed, and it provides a connection between the parish and the community,” she said.
Plans are already in the works for additional Wellness Clinics within the archdiocese, and LoCoco hopes that eventually, all parishes will have an associated Wellness Clinic.
“Funding for this is part of our community engagement, but they will also refer seniors to outside medical experts as well, then the senior’s Medicare or other insurance will handle the fees,” she said. “We are so pleased to partner with great institutional anchors who have such great expertise in their field — and we love St. Camillus.”