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Senior Citizen Risks Danger To Continue Lifelong Pursuit

Several times a week, the 74 year old grandmother drives from her home in El Paso, TX into the murder capital of the world to help keep a sanctuary for its citizens alive. Many senior citizens around the world find personal satisfaction by staying active and involved in causes that are meaningful to them. Independent and assisted living communities around the nation not only offer leisure activities to their residents, but expose them to many educational opportunities that can lead them to the discovery of new interests and pursuits. This fall, CNN’s Heroes of 2010 revealed Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega as one of the top 10 nominated this year for their outstanding humanitarian services. Arizpe De La Vega founded the Hospital de la Familia, a health center more than 30 years ago.

The center in Juarez, Mexico, cares for about 900 people daily, regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the escalating violence in the city, the 74 year old senior travels there several times a week to make sure residents get the care they need. Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega insists on returning to her hometown to preserve the center, saying, “It’s very, very important to keep that place open, giving good services” to the people of Juarez. “Because it’s their hope.” Her journey from El Paso to Juarez has seared some painful images into her mind. “We were going under a bridge and there was a body upside down without a head, hanging there with all the blood flowing,” she recalls. “It was something like a horror movie.” Such sights have become increasingly common in Juarez, as Mexico’s drug war has intensified. Nearly 2,000 people have been killed so far this year, including 34 members of the municipal police. That is in addition to the 2,623 deaths last year and 1,908 deaths in 2007-08.

Gun Control by *matt- on deviantART

Despite the violence, De La Vega’s hospital and its staff — which treats about 900 patients daily, regardless of their ability to pay — have remained unharmed. “Our hospital has not been touched. Our doctors have not been kidnapped. This is a miracle of God, believe me,” she says. “Everybody knows that it’s a safe place for healing, for loving, for empowering people. Why would they be against that? We have been working there for 37 years with the community,” she says. “We don’t turn anybody away.” De La Vega, who is married to a prominent businessman from Juarez, lived there for decades, but the escalating violence, murder, crime and corruption recently forced her to move to El Paso. She says the tipping point came when her family was threatened. “They called and they said that they had kidnapped my daughter. They wanted us to send the money, but my daughter came into the room while we were talking to them. More than anything I wanted to protect my three children,” she says. De La Vega says she has lost friends and neighbors in the conflicts, but she insists she’s not afraid and she’s determined to help the people of Juarez continue receiving the medical care they need.

De La Vega has always been passionate about health care, volunteering with the Red Cross when she was 8 years old. She became an advocate for maternal and infant health in the early 1970s after reading a newspaper article about an impoverished mother of nine, pregnant with her 10th child, who tried to kill her fetus by stabbing herself in the stomach. For De La Vega, who frequently visits patients and is active in administrative, operational and financial aspects at the hospital, her work not only saves lives but has given meaning to her own life as well. “I just love it. Because it’s my life, it’s my passion. I get the privilege of experiencing the magic moment of change from sickness to health, from darkness to light, from apathy to enthusiasm. This is what gives me meaning to my life.”

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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