One hundred one-year-old Mary Turkel still lives in her townhome of 20 years, but these days, she relies on the assistance from volunteers by Duet: Partners In Health & Aging to help her remain independent.
Phyllis, a Duet volunteer, calls every Monday afternoon to chat. Sharp as ever, Turkel is revved for conversation. “My engine’s running,” she shared with Duet, “but my body’s rusting out.”
She used to have a Duet volunteer drive her places, but now that she moves more slowly, another volunteer, Carol, grocery shops for her near the beginning of each month.
Turkel moved from the Midwest to be near her daughter a few decades ago. She turned 100 during the height of the pandemic, which precluded a party. So, she was celebrated with a drive-by parade of decorated cars as she sat in her carport. COVID-19 is just another scourge to survive, she shrugs, citing the Depression, WWII, polio and HIV.
“I’ve lived through 19 presidents,” said Turkel. “Some good. Some bad. America still is here.”
But many of her original friends are no longer are here. When she first arrived, she and other single ladies at her church had a good time together.
“They’re all gone, now,” she said. “But you can’t give up. I had to go to a second level of friends. They’re all much younger, in their late eighties.”
She counts her Duet volunteers among her friends and looks forward to connecting with them.
There are many homebound adults who can no longer drive that are awaiting volunteers from Duet. Valley residents can help by driving to appointments, grocery shopping, calling or making friendly visits. For more information about volunteer orientations and being paired with someone in their geographic area, residents can call Duet: Partners In Health & Aging at 602-274-5022 or visit www.duetaz.org.