Wednesday, October 3, 2007

H.E.L.P. Caring for the Elderly

I have two sets of elderly parents. I see that inspite of the fact that my parents are in good health and take good care of themselves, there are things they have difficulty doing. My dad is legally blind, he can't drive. My mom is also blind in one eye, and her hearing has a lot to be desired. My in-laws have their share of health problems - diabetes, failing eyesight, back problems.

My heart goes out to persons who are old and don't have family to care for them. That's not uncommon these days. Children leave the area, work, or are estranged, a spouse dies. Long term neighbors move away. The elderly are easy to ignore, especially in a youth obsessed area like Southern California.

Torrance has a nice guide to services for the elderly (or Older Adults, as they put it.) It addresses many needs - companionship, estate planning, health care, home repair, taxes, elder abuse, transportation - there's got to be 100 phone numbers on the printed guide I keep in my drawer.

Unfortunately, the print is pretty small, and so this guide is more for a friend or relative that cares for the Older Adult. If you know of an elderly person who lives alone, check on them once in awhile. If you notice a change in behavior, get involved. Is their home in need of repair? Slip a print-out of the online version of this guidein their mailbox (enlarge it!). This guide is also available at the Torrance City Hall, and at libraries around the city.

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