Aging in Place: Help is Available

Ashley Tillman and Becky Bennett-Tears at the Penn Yan Public Library

Ashley Tillman and Becky Bennett-Tears at the Penn Yan Public Library

In a recent post, we took a look at the unrealistic approach to aging in place celebrated in the film Five Flights Up. If you’re prepared to take a common sense approach to aging in place, help is available from a variety of agencies and organizations.

That’s what we learned last week at a meeting at the Penn Yan Public Library. The speakers were Becky Bennett-Tears and Ashley Tillman from ProAction Yates Office for the Aging. ProAction aims to help seniors 60 and above remain independent in their homes, while maintaining their dignity and quality of life.

The agency will arrange transportation for trips to medical appointments as well as trips for shopping, errands, and special events. It provides information on health insurance issues, including Medicare and long-term care insurance. It sponsors a Bone Builders exercise class and instruction in Tai Chi. When income tax time rolls around, ProAction is there to help seniors prepare their tax forms. Home delivered meals and regular check-in phone calls are available, as are nutrition counseling and support for caregivers. The Senior Employment Program helps seniors who need to keep working find jobs, and those who want to volunteer are put in touch with opportunities that suit their interests. And these are just some of the services available.

I’ve checked around online and found that similar programs are widely available – in Sarasota County, Fairfax County (VA), Baltimore County, and Los Angeles County, for example.

I worry, though, that many seniors may be shy about asking for help or reluctant for other reasons. We’ve mentioned Sally down in Florida in other posts, and I doubt that she would have asked a public agency for a ride to the doctor’s office. Instead, she depended on friends. It made her feel more independent, but in fact, she was causing her friends – all seniors too – a good bit of stress.

Help is available. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. That’s just common sense.

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