At Unbound we focus on relationships. In partnership with the families we serve, we build communities of trust, accountability, mutual learning and respect. When combined with financial support, the bonds of love formed between sponsors and sponsored friends and their families become pivotal to the success, improved health and happiness of those we serve. We believe the relationship thrives in part by its reciprocal nature. Both parties, sponsored friends and sponsors, blossom and benefit because of it.
While this connection is important for children and youth in their growth, it’s especially critical for elders as they cope with the social isolation that often comes with aging. And the problem of isolation is likely to grow as the world’s population gets older.
According to the 2015 U.N. “World Population Aging” report, “Virtually every country in the world is experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older persons in their population. Population aging — the increasing share of older persons in the population — is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century.”
In our “Living Unbound: The resiliency of elders” series, we explore our distinctive and trailblazing approach to serving this aging demographic. Members of the Unbound community also share with us some of the blessings and challenges they’ve experienced along the way.
In Nairobi, sponsored elder Erastus demonstrates his determination in searching for a community of peace and acceptance. Unbound staff member Janelle Stamm recounts how she bonded with her late sponsored elder, Lucinda in Guatemala. Each account reveals real hopes and real hurdles. They confirm that the elderly have much to teach and much more to do. Improved quality of life and increased social interactions help them share their hard-earned gifts with others. We also take a look in this issue at steps we’ve taken to disrupt elder isolation, as well as introduce readers to how we’re seeking to measure our results.
Unbound strives to offer quality and necessary services for elders. Human connection remains an important aspect, one that requires the participation of sponsors, staff members, communities of sponsored individuals and their families, and countless others.