Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Accounting for everyone

We've seen the stories which have made news thus far, but I really am beginning to worry if we have taken account of our elderly.  It's not so much the folks living together in formal or informal group homes, but there are an awful amount of folks who live on their own out there.  Some may not have relatives, or at least any relatives nearby.  We really do study Pittsburgh as an extreme case of having an inordinate number of what we call NORC's, or Naturally Occuring Retirement Communities. So folks living in our neighborhoods, yet not living in even semi-institutionalized settings where someone is surely going to keep tabs on you.  I think we actually do a good job taking care of our elderly in the region under most normal circumstances, but things are not very normal of late.  I learned this week that a lot of the Meals on Wheels services in the city do not operate based on when the school district is not open.  Seems a rational criteria; if things are so bad that we shut the schools then it probably is not safe enough to send out the mostly volunteer drivers who deliver the food.  Yet things like Meals on Wheels provide a real service beyond the food they deliver.  For many it is their main contact with the rest of the world.   Given the closure of the schools for 3 days and the weekend before that, many have not had their MoW delivered in 5 days. 

Clearly there are lots of great stories of folks helping out their neighbors out there.  I bet most everyone is doing all they can for those they know are in need.  It's the ones we don't know about that is getting troubling to think about. 


Blogger Ms. Monongahela, Ms. Chief Editor said...

Did my Porky Chedwick posts on Twitter touch you, Chris Briem?

Seriously, I am glad you wrote this -- this is something those of us who are able-bodied and mobile and complaining of free time on our hands can do -- a small favor can make a huge difference in the life of an elderly person. Not only in terms of helping to provide them with tangible goods or services, but that human contact some of them so desperately need in times like this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger joe said...

Still working on our own power five days into this, but after it comes on this afternoon (fingers crossed), I plan to volunteer at a Meals on Wheels tomorrow.

Here is a Google map of all the Senior Centers in Allegheny County (where many but not all Meals on Wheels programs are coordinated):
Senior Centers in Allegheny County

Here's a map of all the Adult Day Service Centers in Allegheny County (they help to coordinate services for the frailest elders in the community):
Adult Day Service Centers in Allegheny County

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger James Kiley said...

An elderly neighbor of ours is extremely dependent on Meals on Wheels for the actual meals. We're happy to help him out, of course, but a week without Meals on Wheels is extremely hard on him. I'm sure the companionship is nice but don't underestimate the value of the actual food.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I wasn't discounting the food at all. I am just worried we just don't know who is in duress of any kind because of lack of contact with anyone.

So I hate to say Porky was not my biggest concern. He clearly has comms with lots of folks. In the paper no less a few days earlier right?

It's all the Carl Fredricksen's of the Burgh we need to find.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:47:00 PM  

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