I am an 80-year-old clinical social worker, having retired three different times (1999-2009). I moved into St. Ailbe’s Senior Housing on December 9, 2010. Spared the hassles and upkeep of a house, I live in perfect peace in an affordable one-bedroom apartment. It is sunny, comfortable, and homey.

Catholic Charities and Father Lurry Duris, pastor of St. Ailbe’s parish, helped me to apply and move in. My former home and St. Ailbe’s Senior Housing are both in Chicago’s Calumet Heights neighborhood. I had lived in my house since 1967. It was freeing and challenging to let go of so many memories and belongings.

Catholic Charities provides activities for senior citizens. We have programs to benefit our minds, bodies, spirits and souls. Service coordinators are on site to help us in negotiating bureaucratic agencies and managing legal, medical, and family affairs, including Social Security and Medicare. St. Ailbe’s has three buildings – Love, Faith, and Hope. Catholic Charities maintains an adult day care center in a separate area of the Faith building for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Two buses provide pickup and drop off transportation for patients.

We have a strong sense of community here. I see myself as a Christian living out my mandate to serve. We work with service coordinators and management to assist residents who are failing or in need of help to remain in independent living. We have one resident who is 99 years young. We have homemaker services and programs such as exercising, barber and beauty services, commodities, and Pace transportation to improve the quality of life.

As neighbors we support and encourage one another. Catholic Charities is a strong right arm. Many of us view St. Ailbe’s as an exciting and vibrant place to live until we go home to our Lord.

Catholic Charities has been a Godsend and a blessing in my life. Thank you for all that you do and a Happy 100th Birthday.