Elaine Riccio is welcomed home by Village volunteer and neighbor Jane Jorgensen; Photo: Bob Craycraft

Coming home from a hospital or rehabilitation center can be stressful. You might feel overwhelmed and isolated, need new medication, or have to schedule and get to several follow-up appointments. Waterfront Village’s “Welcome Home” program, available to all full Waterfront Village members, can help.

“Welcome Home” provides support to members who have an overnight hospital and/or rehabilitation stay. Volunteers from the neighborhood provide transportation, companionship, help with meals, and grocery/pharmacy shopping. The program kicks in as often as needed, so if a member has multiple admissions in a year, Waterfront Village can accommodate each re-admission. For members requiring advanced care at home, Waterfront Village has negotiated rates and reduced hourly minimums with several leading home care agencies. Village staff can arrange appointments for you to interview a representative in advance, provide references from other Village members, or simply provide you contact information for you to do your own research.

Elaine Riccio, a Village member who lives at Town Square Towers, joined the Village as a trial member this summer, and became a full member this fall, around the time when her doctor told her she could not put off surgery any longer. She had a total hip replacement in November and turned to the “Welcome Home” program for help.

“I really and truly was not fully aware of all the benefits and services that Waterfront Village could provide me until I needed them,” she said.

Elaine rode with Village executive director Bob Craycraft to and from the hospital for the surgery. After a three-day stay, she came home to several home-cooked meals by volunteers, and a Village volunteer checked in with her the next day.

Since then, Elaine has had help from volunteers picking up groceries and medication, driving her to/from follow-up appointments, and offering companionship walks in the hallways of her building as she gets back on her feet. She even used the Village network to have a hairdresser come to her home to cut her hair during her recuperation. She is able to determine when and how she wants help, which includes social support.

“[After surgery], you need people around you to boost your morale and keep you on a high-functioning level,” Elaine said.

When Elaine had hip surgery several years ago, she was in New York for her surgery and recovery. It was a very different experience.

“I was alone all day, in a single-family house in New York, cut off from others. I had to depend on Meals on Wheels and food delivery services. I was lucky if a neighbor or two stopped by,” she said. “This time, it’s a totally different experience. It’s like being part of an extended family.”

For more information on the “Welcome Home” program, call 202-656-1834 or email info@dcwaterfrontvillage.org.

By Diane Renzulli

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