Arizona State Students Help Elderly Phoenix Residents

By Kaly Nasiff

Phoenix,AZ- 85-year-old Mildred Webb never thought she’d call the Westward Ho home. But when her health started to decline, she had to leave her old apartment and move here.

“I lived there 13 years,” said Webb. “I thought I was going to die there.”

The Westward Ho is an old hotel that was renovated into affordable apartments for the elderly. Webb enjoys living there, but she does have one complaint.

“But I had other little problems, you know, with my windows,” she said. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Another new addition to the Westward Ho is Arizona State University’s Collaboratory on Central. The program brings nursing and social work students to provide health and counseling services. That’s where Mildred Webb befriended nursing student Karly Webb.

“The best part is probably meeting everybody that’s here because there are so many people here and they all have like really interesting stories,” said Karly Webb.

One of the biggest reasons ASU decided to come to the Westward Ho is for the iconic Concha room. In its heyday, there would be big band performances and school dances there. Now it will be used for ASU and downtown community meetings and events.

“ASU is about being entrepreneurial and ASU’s about being in the community and transforming place,” said Michael Shafer, ASU social work professor. “So those ingredients just all kind of came together here.”

It’s too soon to tell what kind of effects the students will have on the residents, but Mildred will be fine as long as no one tells her what to do.

“I’m older than my doctor,” she said. “You know, he said, I’m not gonna tell you what to do. Because he says you’re doing good by yourself, you know. And I said ‘That’s good because if I don’t like what you’re giving me I’m not gonna take it.'”

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