MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — For 65 years Gayle and Don Buchanan have been by each other's side. They have been through wars, births, deaths, and now a pandemic, and through it all, they have lived in their little house in Berea.
Gayle Buchanan said, "It's not a house, it's a home. It's a home."
Now in their 80s, getting around their small town isn't as easy as it used to be.
"I quit driving a few years ago. I lost my confidence, and Don has macular degeneration, " Gayle explained.
They are still very much capable of doing plenty on their own, they just need some help, and they have found that help in the form of Berea Home Village. It is a local non-profit that helps seniors just like the Buchanans stay in their homes and maintain some independence.
"It's changed our life, " Gayle Buchanan said. "You don't have any idea how helpless you feel when you're sitting here, and you just want to go to the post office."
Marilyn Brown is one of the organization's volunteers. She runs errands, picks up prescriptions, even helps with things around the house.
"It's a lot of fun, and I've really enjoyed meeting the people especially if I'm taking them somewhere we get to visit in the car, " Marilyn Brown said.
With a background in social work, Brown said this volunteer opportunity has brought her joy in retirement.
Brown said, "It is changing their lives, and it changes mine too."
Berea Home Village has also become a vital lifeline through the pandemic when it has been unsafe for many seniors to venture out in public. The founder proudly said they have helped 91% of the seniors they serve get vaccinated.
As for the Buchanans, they said they feel lucky to have found an organization that has helped them still feel like viable members of the community and allows them to keep the comforts of a home that holds so many memories.
"You almost feel like you can hold your head up and look people in the face, " Gayle Buchanan said.
According to recent census data, more than 750,000 Kentuckians are over the age of 65, which is why they and Marily Brown said they would like to see more programs like Berea Home Village.
Marilyn Brown said, "It should be in every small community like ours. It not only helps the people, but it gives volunteers an opportunity too."
Berea Home Village is a 501c3 non-profit, and they rely heavily on donations to make their services available. For more information on how to help or sign-up visit www.bereahomevillage.org or call 859-985-0099.