Haims column: Help those who have made Garfield a better place
In general, being cautious of what you say in public is always a good idea. In a small valley such as Garfield County, keeping your nose clean is important. An error in judgment could have unintended consequences such as finding out that you have quietly been placed on the outside of “the circle.”
I sure hope that I don’t find myself in such a situation by addressing the following.
With so many nonprofits in Garfield County, I wonder why there are less than a handful that provide exclusively for the elderly. I’ve asked a number of my contemporaries and business associates why they think this is. Across the board I hear that most people surmise that “people choose to support the ‘future’ — thus our youth.”
I get it. I have two young children, and I do my best to set them up for a successful future. My wife and I value education, the arts and sports, and feel a great sense of responsibility in ensuring we raise confident, healthy, compassionate and well-balanced children who have purpose.
Within Garfield County we have an exorbitant amount of charitable organizations with great missions. However, think for a moment about any that are focused exclusively on our elderly. Can you name one that is not county or government funded? I can think of just one local organization, Senior Matters. (If I missed such an organization, my apologies, please educate me and let me know of organizations.)
While it’s associated with government funding and not an independently established senior “nonprofit,” there is the Alpine Area Agency on Aging (AAAA; phone 970-468-0295). The AAAA supports many mountain communities under the auspices of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and promotes independent aging for the elderly. If you felt inclined, they would be grateful for any financial support. They also offer many volunteer opportunities.
Neglecting a precious part of our community
A friend, and long-time local nurse, called me a while ago asking to borrow an oxygen compressor that had been donated to my office. It seems that my friend, was trying to assist a person who was in a situation where private insurance, Medicare and/or Medicaid, were not options for providing such a basic need as oxygen. I’m also aware of another recent situation where a long-time local elder couple was no longer able to safely drive and had therefore missed numerous medical appointments. One such missed medical appointment was for a review of heart medications. This missed appointment may have been a factor in a subsequent heart attack and untimely death.
There are numerous stories of such elderly people who have contributed greatly throughout their lives that now find themselves in need of assistance. Unfortunately, within our valley, there are not visually apparent charitable organizations that focus on assisting our communities’ elders. Have you ever thought about how many veterans live in our valley, retired educators, nurses, and service professionals that need to make financial choices that jeopardize their health and lives? Many need to move away in order to maintain a very basic lifestyle that meets their medical and health needs.
How do we as a community, support and assist these individuals that devoted their lives to serving others to make Garfield County great and now live in need of our services?
Next time, when looking to donate your time, resources or dollars, think outside the “box” and think of a way to be of service to this segment of our population. Don’t turn a blind eye.
Should you have any questions, suggestions or ideas about this article, feel free to reach out to me. I am looking for help and guidance in establishing a program that gives back to, and helps, those who have given so much to our communities and more.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Garfield and Pitkin Counties. His contact information is, http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526