COMMUNITY MATTERS: Helping our senior citizens
Who brings the casseroles when someone gets hurt or comes home from the hospital?
Where I grew up in Houston, it was the older, often widowed, women from my neighborhood. The casseroles were wrapped in tin foil with instructions for re-heating taped to the top. The women who brought them arrived with a timid knock so as not to disturb whoever was resting. They rarely came in the house. Instead, they stood in the entryway and handed over “a little something so you won’t have to worry about cooking.” If you lived in a neighborhood with a lot of seniors, a well-planned trip to the hospital could fill the extra freezer in the garage for months.
But what about here? Have you thought of being a senior and living in North Tahoe?
Of all the people who have lived to age 65 in the history of the world, more than half are alive now. Yet, our community has a below average number of seniors. Maybe that long stream of cars heading down the hill on Sunday is really full of seniors moving to a new home.
Our community loses something when we don’t have a sufficient number of seniors. We lose a tremendous source of people with the time and experience to volunteer in our schools and nonprofit organizations. We also miss a history, told not through books, but in the voices of people who lived it. If you’ve never heard Azad McIver talk about coming to Truckee as a teenager, you’ve missed a wonderful tale. And, when she reminisces about working in her brother’s saloon, you learn a great deal about the values of the time.
One organization that helps seniors stay in our community is Tahoe Forest Hospital’s Department of Health Promotions in the Wellness Center. Janet Brady, director of the program, talks about a woman in Incline Village who stopped going to church because she was afraid of falling on the sidewalk leading up to the church. She had never fallen, she was simply afraid it might happen. So what did the people at the Wellness Center do? They didn’t look for expensive or complicated solutions. They provided her with an exercise video of basic exercises that she could perform to improve balance, flexibility and bone mass. Now the woman attends church again, maintaining important spiritual and social connections.
Many seniors (as well as people of all ages) come into the Wellness Center because of a physician referral in order to manage high blood pressure, diabetes or recover from a mild stroke. The Wellness Center addresses these concerns and looks at quality of life issues such as social activities, home-delivered meals, recreational opportunities and connects the person with organizations providing these services.
Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation supports the work of the Wellness Center and other senior-serving organizations because we value the diversity of perspectives seniors add to our community. Besides, we don’t want the casserole to become extinct in our region.
If you are interested in learning more about Tahoe Forest Wellness Center, call Janet Brady at 582-3487 or Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation at 587-1776.
Lisa Dobey, president of Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, may be reached at 587-1776 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. TTCF’s goal is to grow local philanthropy to meet community needs and opportunities.
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