David Soto: Thank You for Your Service

This blog is a tribute to David Soto. He retired on June 30, 2017, after 43 years of service to AAA4. Dave is a wonderfully positive individual. He is steady and “goes with the flow”. I will miss his vast historical knowledge about this agency. When I had a question about “why do we do it this way?” Dave would provide me with the entire backstory.

I saw Dave as our ambassador. Whether attending a SACOG meeting in Sacramento or visiting a congregate meal site in Loyalton, he was an excellent representative of AAA4. He speaks well and is the ultimate diplomat. He is also kind and that comes across in his interactions with people in the community.

 Dave was a young man when he started at AAA4. He had just earned his Master’s Degree in Psychology. He joked about staying long enough to be eligible for our services. He worked tirelessly to serve older adults and his time with AAA4 truly made a difference. Happy golfing, Dave!

Older Adults: Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters

One month ago, this region underwent extensive rainfall and potential flooding. Yuba and Sutter counties experienced mandatory evacuations due to the potential that Oroville Dam would fail. 200,000 people were evacuated. Evacuations are scary and difficult. It is more of a challenge for older adults and caretakers to prepare for disasters and possible evacuation.

Many older adults live alone and may have special needs or limited physical mobility, which makes them more vulnerable than younger people when there is disaster. Therefore, it’s all the more important to take steps to prepare for an emergency by evaluating the specific challenges faced by older adults and making an emergency plan to fit their needs.

The following checklist is a helpful tool to help older adults (and those who love and care for them) prepare for a disaster:

Make a Medical Plan

-Medical facilities may not be available. Talk to your doctor about an emergency plan to access medication and other treatments, such as dialysis.

-Keep a current file of your medical history and medication. Make sure a family member or friend has a copy.

Prepare a Disaster Kit

-Have the supplies you need on hand in case you have to evacuate or manage on your own for a period after a disaster, including:

-Enough food, water, medication and other supplies for 72 hours.

-Important documents: health insurance cards, insurance policies, power of attorney.

-Cash to purchase emergency supplies.

Plan for an Evacuation

-Find out if you live in an evacuation zone.

-Locate nearby shelters. Research pet friendly shelters if you have pets

-If you are unable to drive, identify who can provide transportation.

-If you have physical limitations identify who can assist you in an evacuation.

-Create a network of support (neighbors, friends, co-workers, community members) what can help you in an emergency. Share your plan with them.

Above all, when the evacuation order is issued GET OUT! Do not stay behind!

Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a great time to honor and support the 65 million Americans who provide care for their older and disabled loved ones.  Caregivers are an integral part of the system of care in this country.  They often put their own physical, emotional and financial well-being at risk to care for the person they love.  Their sacrifice may result in job loss, depression, a health crisis, and other stress-related conditions.

It is a myth that most of our nation’s older adults are cared for in nursing homes and other institutions.  Family and friends provide most long term care at home.  In the United States 58% of care recipients 50 and older live in their own home and 20% live with their caregiver.  Only 11% live in a nursing home or assisted living facility.  Family and friend caregivers create a huge savings to the government and health care institutions estimated at $375 billion a year.

What can you do to support to family caregivers? Provide them with respite.  Respite is a chance for them to take a breather and re-energize.  Respite is not a luxury.  It is a key to preventing burn-out, it protects the caregiver’s health and well-being, and it strengthens family relationships.  Studies show that short breaks allow loved ones to stay at home up to three times longer.

My mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s and lived with us for many years.  Caregiving is challenging, but it certainly has its rewards.  My children learned to appreciate the importance of family and taking care of each other.  During this month of Thanksgiving please thank a caregiver for all that they do.

Pam Miller,
Executive Director