Finding community resources for elderly woman
February 27, 2017 12:06 AM   Subscribe

My mother lives on the peninsula (SF Bay Area) and I'm in the East Bay. I work a lot and it's getting harder for her to travel across the bay to be with family. Circumstances are such that she needs to stay where she is, and I can't move either. It's difficult with our schedules to get together.

I'd like to help connect her with community where she lives, such as someone to visit her regularly and keep her company, keep her stimulated, and generally make sure she's ok. We're both dirt poor, so hiring someone is out of the question. Can anyone suggest or point us towards resources or strategies for building community? She's very creative, warm, loving, though has struggles with anxiety and depression. She's always crafting, and loves to care for people close to her.

The realities of making a living in the Bay Area make it difficult for me to spend more time with her. I'd love to help her connect with active people her age (70s) and/or people that share her interests (sewing/knitting/crochet/fiber arts). Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
posted by al_fresco to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered a lodger?
Extra income for her, someone around the house....SF is a popular place for people to want to live.
posted by TheGarden at 2:00 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Maybe look into volunteers who visit socially isolated people?

eg Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly - San Francisco

I would google "volunteers visit socially isolated people [location]".
posted by Sockpuppets 'R' Us at 2:06 AM on February 27, 2017

Can you contact her area's Aging and Disability Services (aka Aging and Adult Services, Department of Aging, etc.)? California Department of Aging, California Association of Areas on Aging. I say this because they might have ideas especially for low-income seniors like your mom.

Is your mom housebound? Could she get out with transit if it is provided? Many areas have special transit programs, like paratransit or taxi vouchers for low-income elderly/disabled people. If your mom can access public transit or a paratransit program, most cities have senior centers which offer crafts and socialization (as well as meals, day trips, and many other activities). She might really enjoy going to a senior center, doing crafts, and having a hot lunch.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:44 AM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

All of the towns around here have local Senior Centers. There is some cost but you find out if they have any reduced or free membership for someone in your mother's situation.

If she doesn't drive and can't take the bus, she can qualify for the VTA paratransit service. There is a modest fee for services and it involved a lot of waiting but it can make things possible.

If she can get out and about, check out local service organization such as the hospital auxiliary or Rebekkahs (that's the one my MIL joined) as well as meet up groups with a craft focus.

If she has any religious orientation, many of them have senior programs and may also offer some help with transportation problem as well as a a way to give back by volunteering.

The local elementary school (often in walking distance) might be able to use a tutor to help ESL students learn to read.

If you want someone to visit her in the home, that's harder but Council on the Aging (referenced above might help). I know there are some local program where high school students will come and visit, particularly with a focus on helping seniors learn to use their computers. If she can do that, it can open some on-line communities for her.
posted by metahawk at 10:27 AM on February 27, 2017

Palo Alto Medical Foundation has launched a very cool thing in the South Bay called LinkAges. It lets seniors volunteer their time and get benefits in return.

For example, she could offer help with kids who need craft projects, then she can ask for help with something she needs.

Kaiser is super big in the East Bay -- I wonder if they have something similar.

If you mom can get to the South Bay, maybe by joining LinkAges, she could use her talents in a good way.
posted by rw at 12:36 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Since she loves to care for people, can you find a way for her to volunteer? Maybe with like minded and aged crafting people?
posted by Vaike at 4:46 PM on March 1, 2017

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