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Saturday, November 19, 2016
My Senior Citizen Neighbor Lives Alone and the AOA
Our beloved 84-year old and Italian-American neighbor has been living alone after her husband died about 5 years ago. According to the 2010 Census, there are more than 11 million Senior Citizens in the US who lives alone majority of them are women. These senior citizens living alone are lonely and we should not forget their needs. The Administration on Aging (AOA) should not forget these senior citizens living alone.
Macrine and I feel sorry for her so Macrine nags me to check on her twice a week just to be sure she is Ok. Since she no longer drives we invite her every week for an afternoon of relaxation at our local Indian Casino. Every now and then I drive her to our nearby grocery and pharmacy stores. Her other friends and neighbors drive her regularly to the grocery store, doctors and dental appointments and to church every Sunday.
Going to the Casino is her only relaxation besides her gardening hobby, she informed us. She is very grateful that we take her to Casino with us. As a return, she cooks us some of her favorite Italian dishes and gave us fruits from her home orchard. Yesterday, she harvested a few oranges and shares a couple fruit with us. This morning she cooked me my favorite soup- a tripe soup with garbanzo beans, cubed potatoes and spiced with parsley in tomato sauce.
For the last couple of years she had vented her loneliness on living alone to both Macrine and I. We suggested she hired a companion and maid to help her with the house hold work and the cleaning of her 4-bedroom and 2-bath home with a big yard planted with more than a dozen fruit trees. She said for the moment she is strong enough and do not need assistance. We also suggested she sells her big house and moved to a 5 star assisted-living residence so she will have the company of other seniors. She did not like this suggestion. She said if the time comes when she is no longer healthy she will rather go back to Italy instead of living in a senior home.
Her situation of living alone inspired me to do some internet search on the disadvantages of senior citizens living alone. Incidentally, I know of three other widows living alone in our neighborhood. Here's an excerpt from my web search.
Physical Safety: Elderly people are often subject to falls. Medical conditions common in elderly people, such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, may affect balance and physical strength. Also, chores requiring the use of a stool or a ladder are best left to non-seniors; however, elderly people living alone often attempt these tasks alone instead of waiting for a friend or family member who can help. In addition, while living with someone may not prevent a fall, it usually means that the victim of a fall gets immediate attention.
Financial Security: Seniors living alone are subject to financial fraud and a variety of scams. Offers that are clearly too good to be true come in the mail. Phone callers fish for personal information and administer a variety of con games that may deprive seniors of their life savings in one fell swoop. Even the Internet, which can connect a lonely senior with the outside world, can be the source of e-mail messages that "phish" for personal information and make fraudulent offers. A companion can help monitor these scams. In addition, a senior living alone may find it costly to live alone.
Nutrition: People who live alone are less likely to prepare nutritious meals than those who share meals with others. They may opt for quick snacks and empty calories, especially if they have a health condition that makes meal preparation tiring or difficult. Social interaction with other people makes it more appealing to sit down for a complete meal. For details visit: http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/disadvantages-elderly-people-living-alone. For more information about senior citizens read: http://www.ioaging.org/aging-in-america
Finally I urged the Trump transition team to appoint a Filipino-American as Director of the Administration of Aging (AOA). I can suggest names of qualified individuals for the job. For more information on AOA read: http://www.aoa.gov/