Amy, her dad and the program that keeps them together.
Meet the Angelo Family
As a child, Amy Angelo helped her mom in the Meals on Wheels program benefitting elderly neighbors, but she could not have imagined her eventual career track would be serving seniors, including her own parents.
Now aged 41, after years working in that field, she reflects on the health challenges of her own parents in Hazleton, where her dad, Jackie, was employed as a bartender, and her mom, Pat, worked as an accountant. Amy remembers that her parents “were never in great health.”
During a college internship with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Amy discovered her career calling in senior services. But along with it came the realization that what she was learning about the pathology of unhealthy aging matched her parents. She observed that in many of the cases that ended up in Protective Services were due to self-neglect.
“I knew I had to get involved,” she says, realizing that intervening early and re-directing her parents’ life routines wouldn’t be easy for them – nor for her.
Though Jackie and Pat preferred to remain independent, Amy convinced them to move to a senior apartment complex in Hazleton, and she took a job in the Lehigh Valley to be closer to them.
Pat received rehabilitation services at a nearby nursing home and had a social life. The Aging Waiver Program, which provides for services that enable seniors to stay in their homes, covered a home health aide.
After Pat’s death in 2012, Amy’s father, who by then had dementia, moved to her home. Now, as a member of the Senior LIFE Program, Jackie is cared for during the day while Amy goes to her job as director of Healthy Aging & Food Access for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
“The LIFE center makes him feel like he’s going to work and gives him purpose,” says Amy, and she can concentrate on her work. “Without it, he would be in a nursing home.”