Steve Amdahl photo
Steve Amdahl with photo of Hogar Alegria founder.
Steve Amdahl photo
Steve Amdahl with photo of Hogar Alegria founder.

A senior residence in the Dominican Republic supported by Oregonians now has a refreshed building, but not enough staff to operate it.

Steve Amdahl, a Portlander who marshals support for Catholic-run Hogar Alegria, has returned from a visit to the project, begun by a priest 35 years ago and now led by a nun. While donors, including the government, helped renovate the facility, funds are short for personnel. Sister Lucina, the administrator, would like to have a doctor on staff at least part time in addition to a pharmacist and office staff. Furnishings and supplies are also in short supply at the rural outpost of mercy, which serves people who might otherwise be abandoned.

Hogar Alegria is home to 24 ancianos, elders, but could serve 100 with more staff and supplies. When an elder needs to be admitted to the hospital, a staff person must go along to give care. That’s the nature of hospitals in the Dominican Republic.

“This reduces the nursing and care-taking staff available at Hogar,” says Amdahl. “This serious personnel problem is one of the factors now limiting the number of ancianos that can be cared for.”

Sister Lucina will be speaking with a local doctor to address the need. But the doctor must be paid.
“We think that increasing the medical staff and ‘filling the shelves’ of the vacant spaces is the best use of our funds at this time,” Amdahl explains.