The Rapidian

Creston neighbors break ground on keeping seniors in the neighborhood

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Creston Neighbors start the discussion about keeping seniors in their homes as long as possible.
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By Norma Kraai

A group of five Creston volunteers, aged 40-74 has been meeting this spring to talk about how to make the Creston neighborhood a place that’s attractive for people to stay, even as we grow older and encounter challenges to our independent living. Around the country neighbors are forming village networks to support themselves and one another through these phases of life. At our first meeting we discussed what brought us to the table and discovered that several of us work with seniors as home health aides. One volunteer visits aging parents and in-laws on the west coast and in the southwest periodically to spell the more local relatives. One senior homeowner says that she has one son in the area and doesn’t want to only rely on his visits to meet her needs but finds it difficult to locate a good contractor who will come over for small jobs.

The group started with a meeting for block captains and other interested volunteers. A survey was completed by 35 attendees. There have since been several meetings, with one volunteer designing a survey that can be used to determine what the main problems are.

“Early intervention is key to preventing people moving prematurely into nursing homes,” said Sara Kremer, a professional in the social work field and member of the group. She went on to describe how a fall by a neighbor who might have gotten dizzy standing on a high chair to change a lightbulb could become life changing. “If neighbors have a network of helpers they trust they are more likely to make the call to get the help they need. And helpers love to help!”

The group is currently working to determine what the biggest needs are for our older neighbors who are attempting to stay in their own homes. What type of assistance would be required? Could they afford to pay a monthly fee? Do they need transportation? What resources for seniors do we already have? These are the questions the group plans on answering when they conclude the survey and interviews with other stakeholders.

Disclosure: Norma Kraai is a part of the group of volunteers working to improve the Creston neighborhood for seniors.

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