Category Archives: Elders

Delivering Holiday Cheer for Local Elders

Guest post by DCF Northwest Regional Managing Director Vicki Abrams

Ms. Jennings sat in her wheelchair in the nursing home, looking a little misty eyed as she saw holiday decorations around her. Her husband of 61 years had passed three years earlier and her twin sister died last year. She felt very alone.

Suddenly her face perked up – she saw two big smiles on little faces coming towards her. Her two grandchildren, ages 3 and 6, had come to visit her. Their parents had arms full of presents and holiday treats. Her eyes filled with tears as she embraced her grandchildren.

The holidays give us a wonderful time to come together as families and friends, sharing memories and good tidings. But for many older and disabled adults, the holiday season can be a lonely, stressful and even depressing time.

Here are just a few ways to help the elderly and vulnerable adults during the holiday season.

  • Spending quality time strolling down memory lane with loved ones
  • Talking with and listening to elders in nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Helping with holiday shopping or hanging seasonal decorations
  • Bringing holiday treats or preparing a special meal
  • Helping out with home repairs or routine chores
  • Making sure elders have warm clothes and proper heating and air
  • Helping children to make handmade holiday cards for elders and delivering them to nursing homes

This week, escorted by Santa Claus himself, Senior Santa volunteers in Panama City will deliver handmade holiday cards from area children to local nursing homes, distribute gifts donated by Jerry Wilson’s Roofing and Charlie Coram’s Place and delight residents with traditional holiday carols and food.

Connect with an elder family member or friend this holiday season. To help people outside your family, contact local nursing homes to see how you might be able to bring a little holiday joy to residents this season. Even little acts of kindness will surely be greatly appreciated.

Happy holidays!

Neglect of an elder veteran

Guest post by Adult Protective Services Human Services Counselor Lori Scott in Opa Locka.

photo courtesy of U.S. Army archives

After nearly 70 years, the man had accomplished much, including proudly serving in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years.

By the time we were notified about him, he was living in a small efficiency unit in an older building.  The floors and walls were dirty.  The bathroom floors and fixtures were covered in dirt and stained with mold and mildew.  The refrigerator and freezer were also dirty with food stains.  The entire unit needed a thorough cleaning, but he was unable to do this because of health conditions: He had a toe amputated from his right foot in March 2012.  He also suffers from chronic leg pains that make it difficult for him to stand or walk for long periods of time. He receives all medical care from the Veterans Hospital in Miami.

The veteran had very little food in the home and no money to purchase food.  He receives a military pension each month, but has a garnishment from the IRS and rent, which leaves him a small amount of money to purchase food and personal items during the month.

He has no family members living in Miami, so he relies on friends and the VA Hospital for transportation to his medical appointments.  He does not have a home phone or cell phone, which makes it difficult for him to arrange transportation.

Adult Protective Investigator Tamuno Eretoru and Human Services Counselor III Lori Scott

DCF was able to come in and help him by providing chore services that performed intensive cleaning of his entire home.  He was also given daily meals and homemaker services to assist him with daily cleaning.  The veteran also received a SafeLink cell phone that allows him to make contact with others when needed.  He continues to receive ongoing meals that the Department arranged through Jewish Community Services.  We also assisted him in completing an application for food stamps and will assist him with applying for social security benefits as well.

DCF Adult Protective Services becomes involved with vulnerable adults who suffer from neglect or abuse. This man wasn’t suffering abuse at the hands of another person, but was a victim of self-neglect.

Since DCF provided help, the veteran has expressed his gratitude for the services and ongoing assistance he received.  The delivery of meals each day and a cell phone to stay in contact with others have provided some relief to the stress that he has endured for the last several months. We were happy to help!

If you or someone you know are suffering because of any kind of abuse or neglect, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.