Choose to Share the Love with Vulnerable Older Adults

Exciting news! For the tenth year running, the Meals on Wheels network is participating in the Subaru Share the Love Event. In the past nine years, Subaru of America has donated over $12 million to Meals on Wheels—that’s the equivalent of more than 1.7 million meals to older adults across the country!

Why does Subaru support Meals on Wheels? Because too many older adults are struggling to stay independent and healthy. Ten million seniors in America face the threat of hunger, and millions more live alone in isolation. This is simply unacceptable, which is why Agency on Aging/Area 4 provides the nutritious meals to the older adults of Yuba and Sutter counties. This vital support keeps seniors in their own homes, where they want to be.  We appreciate the generous donation that Subaru made to Yuba Sutter Meals on Wheels last year of over $15,000.  We hope to continue this wonderful relationship.

We’re incredibly grateful to Subaru and its retailers for supporting our organization and the older adults we serve. With that in mind, I thought you might want to learn a little bit more about the Share the Love Event.


November 16, 2017, through January 2, 2018, for every new Subaru vehicle leased or sold, Subaru will donate $250 to the customer’s choice of participating charities. Meals on Wheels America is one of four national participating charities and has been since the inception of the event. Through this campaign, as a Member of Meals on Wheels America, Agency on Aging/Area 4 will receive a share of the revenue earned in California.

If you’re in the market for a new car, please look into the Share the Love Event to learn more. If you’re not shopping for a new vehicle, you can still help by spreading the word to your family and friends. A few quick and easy ways to do that:

And remember – this holiday season, you can ensure our older adult neighbors are not forgotten when you buy or lease a new Subaru and select Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice.

Domestic Violence among Older Adults

When I used to think of domestic violence I would picture a 20 or 30 something couple fighting over a myriad of marital woes.  I thought about spousal abuse and child abuse.  I did not think about older adults.  I was wrong!

Domestic violence (DV) is defined as an intentional infliction of harm to another family member, without regard for that person’s rights or safety (Flannery, 2003).  This includes physical or verbal harm related to sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, intimidation or verbal abuse as well as physical aggression.

DV does not discriminate and crosses all ages, ethnicities, genders.  DV late in life is more common among women.  One study showed that 25% of the women with a lifelong partner experienced abuse.  39% of those women described severe sexual abuse and 70% reported severe non-physical abuse (Bonomi, 2007).

One factor that adds to abuse among older adults is dementia.  Stressed out caregivers are more likely to be abusive.  There are so many factors that add to this.  The caregiver may feel the frustration of watching a family member slowly slip away.  There may be a financial drain, a sense of isolation from other family members and friends, and a physical and emotional drain from the day to day requirements of caregiving.  Caregivers in need should reach out to their local Alzheimer’s Association.

If you suspect DV of an older adult is occurring call Adult Protective Services (APS) immediately.  Each county has an APS office to investigate abuse.

September is Disaster Preparedness Month

September is Disaster Preparedness Month.  This is very timely, as the West Coast is burning with several wild fires and Houston is literally under water.  An older adult’s pet is often their most beloved companion.  It is important to have a plan for your pet in case of a disaster and/or evacuation.  Here are somethings to think about:

  • Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animal.
  • Identify shelters so you know who to call in case your pet is lost.
  • Find pet friendly hotels and keep the list in your pet’s emergency kit.
  • Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals outside your local area where you can board your pet or get medical care for them. Keep this list in your pet’s emergency kit.
  • Identify an out-of-town friend or family member where you can go with your pet in an emergency.
  • Have your pet micro-chipped and keep your contact information current. Also, provide contact information for a friend outside of your area.
  • Make sure your animal’s vaccinations are current and you have that information in the emergency kit in case of needing boarding or veterinary care.

An excellent website to learn about preparing for disasters is WWW.Ready.Gov

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  Older adults make up 12% of the US population, but account for 18% of all suicide deaths. This is an alarming statistic, as the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, making the issue of later-life suicide a major public health priority.

A person who may be thinking about suicide likely does not want to die, but is in search of some way to make pain or suffering go away. Older people who attempt suicide are often more isolated, more likely to have a plan, and more determined than younger adults. Suicide attempts are more likely to end in death for older adults than younger adults, especially when attempted by men. But suicide is 100% preventable.  Get to know the warning sides that an older adult is suicidal.

Suicidal thoughts in older adults may be linked to several important risk factors and warning signs. These include, among others:

  • Depression
  • Prior suicide attempts
  • Marked feelings of hopelessness; lack of interest in future plans
  • Feelings of loss of independence or sense of purpose
  • Medical conditions that significantly limit functioning or life expectancy
  • Impulsivity due to cognitive impairment
  • Social isolation
  • Family discord or losses (i.e. recent death of a loved one)
  • Inflexible personality or marked difficulty adapting to change
  • Access to lethal means (i.e. firearms, other weapons, etc)
  • Daring or risk-taking behavior
  • Sudden personality changes
  • Alcohol or medication misuse or abuse
  • Verbal suicide threats such as, “You’d be better off without me” or “Maybe I won’t be around”
  • Giving away prized possessions


It is crucial that friends and family of older adults identify signs of suicidal thoughts and take appropriate follow- up actions to prevent them from acting on these thoughts. Suicidal thoughts are often a symptom of depression and should always be taken seriously.

If you or someone you know is experiencing passive or active suicidal thoughts, or has described a plan with intent to act, it is essential that you intervene and get help from a mental health professional immediately. A timely and appropriate intervention can prevent suicide, and addressing issues sooner rather than later often results in better treatment outcomes.