Brenda Zimmerman to go to Nicaragua

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 23, 2011

When Onie Bodeheimer read that Raleigh attorney Ken Burgess was looking for the “best activity professional in the world” to establish activity programs in nursing homes in Nicaragua, she knew there was only one person for the job.
Bodenheimer, an assisted living administrator in Greensboro, immediately contacted Burgess and her long-time friend Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks (LHTO) Activity Director Brenda Zimmerman and in January, Zimmerman will be heading to Central America for a one week all-expense-paid adventure of a lifetime. Along with other volunteers and activity professionals, she will travel to Nicaragua to work in the “hogares de ancionas,” or “homes of the ancients.”
Zimmerman states, “This is an overwhelming honor…but credit needs to go largely to Lutheran Services for the Aging and working in a place where education and growth are not only encouraged, but supported.”
Burgess, a long-term care attorney with the firm Poyner and Spruill, began advocating for Nicaraguan elders in 2006. With the encouragement of his friend Keren Brown Wilson, founder of the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation, he and other foundation supporters seek to improve the lives of vulnerable elders in the U.S. and abroad.
In a recent newsletter Burgess said, “Currently there is nothing even approaching an activities program in the five centers where we work [in Nicaragua], and our goal is to change all that. This first trip will lay the foundation for activities programs in the centers we support and is just the first step in an ongoing effort to meet the psychosocial needs of these wonderful, abandoned, and impoverished elders.”
Though Zimmerman’s expenses will be paid, she is hoping to purchase supplies for the nursing home and would happily accept contributions toward that effort. To learn more about how you can help, contact her by calling 704-637-3784, ext. 14600, or at