Letters to the Editor

by Cynthia Germain

In the Peninsula Pulse last week, Letters to the Editor section, there was a disturbing letter from Jean Hollander of Egg Harbor titled Save Our Seniors During a Storm. She explained that she is 80 years old, lives alone and her electricity went out during the recent storm. She was without juice for her phone, no lights and no heat. She was unable to get to her garage. “It was scary..no one knew I was here”, Jean said. She then outlined how there should be a checkup for seniors, a list of seniors living alone, to be checked in these kind of circumstances, with someone calling or knocking on the door… “some acknowledgement.”

It hit hard not only me but many of my friends and colleagues. I sent in a letter to the editor in response, and I want to share it with my blog readers:

Help Is On Its Way

This is in response to the Letter to the Editor in the 4/19-4/26 issue from Jean Hollander in Egg Harbor.
Jean, you are so right, there should be some sort of checkup on seniors in the circumstances that you described, that you endured. I want you to know that help is on its way. There is a grassroots movement happening right now in our community. It’s the Village model. It’s not a place but a way.

Villages are community-based organizations formed through a cadre of caring neighbors, connecting members to practical support services that enable older adults to enjoy independence and a healthy quality of life when they choose to age in their homes. Villages build a sense of community and offer resources, services, programs and activities, all through one contact number. When you are a member of a village, you will be checked on, and you will feel valued in the community.

The Village Movement originated in Boston with Beacon Hill Village over 20 years. There are now more than 300 Villages nationwide. And it’s happening right here in Door County. Seniors Advocates for Independent Living will launch this summer, supporting older residents of Sister Bay and Liberty Grove. Lake to Bay Neighbors is currently in the planning stages, slated to serve all older residents south of Sister Bay. You can learn more about the movement at www.vtvnetwork.org. You can visit our website, www.dogooddoorcounty.org, to learn more about the local efforts or call us at 920-659-5159.

As I said, help is on its way through this proven model of support. But in the meantime, I would recommend that you, and every resident of Door County, reach out to the Aging and Disability Resource Center. It is here that you can talk to a knowledgeable person about what you would like to be safe and comfortable in your home and learn about your current options.

Only through the collaboration of organizations like the ADRC, Do Good Door County and others in the Aging Coalition of Door County, alongside caring, passionate community members will we all be able to age in the way we want, in the place we want, and be a part of the community that we love.

I am sharing this here and through our e-mail database to ask our residents for two things. One, reach out to get involved in implementing the village model in Door County. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. And two, get to know your neighbors and if they are like Jean, check in. Perhaps not just during a storm but just because.