On Thanksgiving, help from local nonprofit makes senior citizen thankful

Contact Reporterwwright@vagazette.com

Before she lived in Parker View Apartments, 76-year-old Grace Sutton worked as a dance teacher in New York City, a costume designer for the San Diego Opera and even on the set of Star Wars.

After moving to the area to work for Colonial Williamsburg, Sutton said she eventually heard of Faith In Action — the source of much of what she is thankful for this year.

“I’ve lived a lot of places in my life,” she said. “I wish every community had a place like Faith In Action. They are an absolute Godsend.”

Faith in Action is a Williamsburg-based nonprofit group that assists residents who are aging in place — seniors who don't plan on leaving their homes.

Staff provides transportation, housekeeping and more to seniors who need their services.

Sutton needed help from Faith In Action once a doctor diagnosed her with macular degeneration, considered one of the leading causes of eye loss in the world.

While working at Farm Fresh, she’d found herself unable to decipher a sign near the deli.

“All of the words looked warbled,” she said. It was like they were curved, or they melted into each other.”

Others seniors told Sutton about Faith In Action. Drivers from the group take her to and from her doctor’s appointments.

Sutton, a native New Yorker and self-proclaimed conversationalist, appreciates the drivers’ willingness to listen.

“Most of them are retired, so it gives them something to do,” she said. “I always enjoy it, and they are always so courteous.”

Those doctor’s appointments require Sutton to get painful shots in her eyes. Sometimes, the pain is so bad that she requires help to leave the building.

“When it’s really bothering me, I’ll ask someone to come in with me,” she said. “They have always helped, and I appreciate that.”

Part of that appreciation comes from what Sutton sees as a very precarious attitude America has toward its oldest inhabitants.

“Seniors are the forgotten generation,” she said. “People don’t immediately think of our concerns, which is dangerous. Many people can’t do for themselves what they used to.”

Sutton said Faith In Action is an integral complement to the other facets of her life — facets she considers herself lucky to have.

“I’m thankful for my faculties,” she said. “Everyone doesn’t get to be this age, and even fewer people get here and still have their mind working.”

Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.

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