My staff member Jen recently relayed an event that got me thinking about the difficulties of being an elder in our society. Apparently, there is a woman in her nineties that lives down the street from Jen and her family. Her daughter Kat came home distraught one afternoon after witnessing this elderly woman tugging her giant garbage can out to the curb, then having to sit down and breathe. By the time Kat reached her, she had caught her breath, but was unable to stand without help. Kat helped the woman to her front door, but was in tears by the time she got home.
Jen and Kat went over the next day and offered to take out her trash, fill her bird feeders and all of the other little tasks we often take for granted. After her first official visit to help, Kat came home and reported that the woman’s fridge was almost empty. When she asked her about it (Kat doesn’t beat around the bush!), the woman told her she couldn’t drive anymore, so she usually just waited until the Schwann’s truck came around.
Unfortunately, this is a scenario that is all-too-common. Seniors in our society are often forgotten if they don’t have family nearby, or another support system. This is why it’s our responsibility to take care of our elders, whether they’re related to us or not. It’s okay to get involved — the worst that can happen is they’ll tell you to mind your own business.
Kat enlisted the help of her neighborhood friends (including one with a driver’s license!) and they now take turns doing the grocery shopping and other household chores. What would have happened, though, if Kat hadn’t seen this woman that afternoon? Would she, too, have slipped through the cracks?
According to Feeding America statistics, in 2014 about 9% of senior households experienced food insecurity. This is 9% too many.
If you know of someone in your community that could benefit from senior food programs, check out sound generations.
They offer a multitude of resources nationwide for helping seniors receive food on a daily basis.