So often we think of what could be done to enable seniors to remain in their homes.
When we had young children, we had limited finances for babysitting so I started a “Babysitting Bank.” There were a dozen families involved and one member assumed the role of bookkeeper. She kept track of all requests and availability. If we needed a sitter for 4 hours Saturday night we put in a request and were matched with someone who was available. We would have a debit of 4 hours and the sitter would have a credit of 4 hours. This was long before computers so all the records were done by hand and people were contacted by phone. No one was permitted to go beyond a 15 hour debit. Today with computer programs this would be so much easier.
Doug’s mom loved baking and at 80 years of age she started her own baking business. She took orders for buns, pies, bread, muffins, cakes… and delighted in preparing them. She might never have broken even financially, but it really didn’t matter because it added to the quality of her life.
Judy’s dad loved business and after he retired, he got involved in a voluntary position with “SCORE” which provided help and advice for struggling businesses. He always looked forward to the days when he was able apply his business experience in helping others succeed.
This “work exchange or co-op service” for seniors could supply help to one person to get a task done that was overwhelming to them. The person who provided the help would feel good about themselves for having the opportunity to help someone.
People with glaucoma or macular degeneration can have difficult reading yet want to “stay up to date” on the news or a current best seller. People who have a dog and because of mobility issues could keep their dog when there is a person to walk it. A caregiver could get a break when someone acts as a companion for a few hours a week. People who love baking could use their skills to make special desserts. Seniors who are still driving could commit to driving someone to a doctor’s appointment…
While reminiscing I wondered if something like this could work for senior communities.
Services available could include:
Help with laundry
Walking a dog
Transportation to appointments
Simple maintenance like changing a light bulb
Help with a computer
Simple car maintenance (i.e adding windshield washer fluid)
A computer literate person could keep track of requests and availabilities.
There could also be an option of paying for a service or of “gifting” a service.
Some senior communities now have a network of services available for a monthly or yearly fee but after seniors have been retired 25 or 30 years on a fixed income the work exchange or co-op services for seniors might be a solution they could use.