Lloyd 'Pete' Waters: Seniors need more than a facility, so how about a little help?

November 06, 2011|By LLOYD WATERS

Our older citizens in Dargan can hardly wait until the new senior citizen facility is opened at Hagerstown Community College. They know it will be a fine facility and they know it might be well used by those senior folks who live in close proximity to the college.

The only sad thing they don’t know is how they might get there to use the facility. Some of the seniors from Williamsport, Boonsboro, Sharpsburg, Rohrersville, and elsewhere are wondering the same thing.

A Williamsport senior shared this very thought with me a few weeks ago.

That’s the problem with government decisions sometimes; it benefits a few but ignores the plight of many others who contribute their tax dollars and don’t reap the same benefits.

Build the facility in Dargan, and then you will begin to understand our dilemma better. “Wait a minute, we can’t drive all the way to Dargan” might be your complaint.

As a society, I believe it a noble gesture to look after our seniors, but I have seen so many cases where the individual often gets abandoned by relatives, friends, churches and neighbors as they grow old.

I read somewhere that “one loyal friend is more valuable than 10,000 relatives.” I believe that to be so.

People seem to be more concerned about themselves these days and are not really so quick to raise a hand to help a senior in need.

I can’t imagine many seniors in South County benefiting from a facility at Hagerstown Community College.

I have witnessed some of our seniors experience alienation through a lack of visits, poor nutrition as a result of poor meal preparation and questionable medical assistance because no one comes around to take them to their doctor’s appointment or help them take their medications. Also, good hygiene goes out the window because no one is there to help.

These folks, who have to live in a world where people have a tendency to forget you when you grow old, are going to have extreme difficulty finding a ride to a senior facility.

The problem of aging, however, is not going to disappear for an increasing portion of our population.

The numbers will certainly continue to increase in our county.

As resources continue to diminish, perhaps government can provoke some thinking on how best to provide services for a lot of seniors instead of directing resources to one area which might attract a few while ignoring the vast majority.

Government can’t solve all the problems. Maybe the churches could become more involved in providing some outreach for those in need.  Maybe individual communities could make seniors a part of their future plans, and maybe yet some of those deadbeat relatives could take up some slack.

How about some of you lazy relatives who often have an opinion about an elderly relative get your lazy jeans moving a little more often and help out?

You think I’m kidding? Take out a sheet of paper and write down some of the things you do for an elderly relative or neighbor.

If you have a sheet of paper with a lot of things listed, I congratulate you for a job well done. You are someone very special.

If you think a phone call now and then is something great, well you can’t see the forest for the trees.  You’re one of those people who talk a lot, but make very few contributions. Your sheet will be almost empty.

How about some visits? How about buying some groceries? How about going to the doctor’s appointment or caring for the elderly person in your house on occasion? How about taking a senior for a ride or spending some quality time with them?

A community senior facility might be nice for some, but don’t think for a minute it offers a greener pasture for the many.

Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.

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