gettin’ old

My parents are just hitting that time when they are getting too old to do some stuff, and we are about to begin some difficult negotiations over what they should give up doing and when. Driving is an especially sore point, since they live in the suburbs, where the nearest bus stop is a relatively long walk away. An even bigger hurdle to public transit is that they have never used it, and now that they get disoriented on occasion, it is probably past the time when they can learn.

That said, other than occasional confusion and some typical hearing and vision loss, they are perfectly fine staying in their home and taking care of themselves. I want to provide some support for them to stay there as long as they can, such as hiring someone to clean the house, maybe take them grocery shopping and to the bank, and find a driving alternative for them, like perhaps a taxi service that is senior friendly (for example, where they might get the same driver time and again).

My folks live in the Bay Area, so I am thinking there will be more services there than other, less populous, places. However, after doing some web research, I have discovered that the easy-to-locate services are for homebound seniors with big health needs. Fair enough, but any ideas where/how I can find a business that caters to more able seniors, as opposed to a social services model for those in the most need? Does such a business even exist, or am I stuck with hiring various cleaners/errand-runners/drivers on my own?

6 thoughts on “gettin’ old”

  1. I know nothing about this, but it seems like there should be the market for this kind of job, a broad-purpose advocate for older adults.

    I would think it would be easy to make cleaning arrangements on your own from where you are. A “friend” of mine set up somebody to clean his place with virtually everything for setting up the appointment being taken care of online.


  2. Good luck. A house cleaner should not be a problem, but you probably need to rely on word-of-mouth in their neighborhood to find a reliable one.

    Transport services are often expensive. One of my relatives needed to use one on occasion.

    For help shopping and cleaning, if you go through an agency, they generally only offer full-time or regular part-time (e.g. 20 hours per week) people, and they are expensive.

    Many non-agency people demand to be paid under-the-table.

    Do post if you find something.


  3. I remember seeing ads for helpers like these in the campus paper at Arizona. I think that students – perhaps particularly those studying social work or gerontology or something – would be willing to do it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t alleviate you having to find the people.

    Do your parents attend church? If they do, or belong to a club or someplace similar, that’s where I’d suggest looking first.


  4. On using taxis: after giving up driving, my mother resisted taxis as being too expensive. I added up the yearly cost of keeping a car — the taxis were cheap by comparison. Made a huge difference in her life.


  5. You could look into whether the town has a subsidized senior citizen taxi program. Evanston does. I’m not sure how it works exactly and there don’t seem to be too many details online (note: calling may be better for your town as well), but basically, the city sells cab vouchers to “qualifying seniors and mobility-impaired residents” that they can then use to travel anywhere in town.


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