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.