Something to Live For

Open Your Heart to a Senior fills a couple’s home with love and friendship.

In 2015, Jean and Meyer had been happily married for over 60 years. When Meyer became ill, Jean cared for him and often found it difficult for them to leave the home. A friend advised her to contact AgeWell Pittsburgh to inquire about services that help homebound seniors. Jean learned about Open Your Heart to a Senior, a program supported by United Way.

Jean was immediately interested. “Meyer’s life was so limited. There was nothing for him to look forward to day-to-day,” Jean explained. Meyer began to receive visits from volunteers Howard Aizenstein and his teenage son, Simon. Simon loved hearing Meyer’s stories of serving in World War II, seeing his medals and learning valuable life lessons. “The time they spent with him was so precious,” said Jean. “It was just the ticket Meyer needed. It was special time just for him. I’ll always be grateful for what they gave him.”

About a year into their relationship, Meyer passed away. A couple weeks later, Howard called Jean to ask if he and his whole family could continue to visit. “I was so touched. Howard’s wife, Barbara Baumann, and daughter, Evie, started to come, too,” Jean said.

The Aizenstein/Baumann family continue to visit Jean and they’ve formed a bond that keeps Jean going. “It’s such a delight, I am so grateful for the visits.” Jean said. “We love playing games, and they include me in their family’s activities. I can’t wait for the next time we get together.”

“It’s great for us as a family,” said Barbara. “We loved Meyer, and we love Jean. We see this as a way to unplug as a family and spend time together. We put it on the calendar and look forward to every visit. Jean has become a member of our extended family,” says Barbara.

To learn more about how you can be part of United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior initiative, visit