Judson Haims: The ‘Age Drain’ has consequences; donate time, funds to help our aging neighbors | AspenTimes.com

Judson Haims: The ‘Age Drain’ has consequences; donate time, funds to help our aging neighbors

Judson Haims
Special to The Aspen Times

In general, being cautious of what you say in a public is always a good idea. In a small valley such as Pitkin County, keeping your nose clean is important. An error in judgment could have unintended consequences, such as finding out that you have quietly been placed on the outside of “the circle.“

I sure hope that don’t find myself in such a situation by addressing the following: Someone needs to ring the alarm bell and take charge in leading our community to take action in addressing the needs of our aging population.

With so many nonprofits in Pitkin County, I wonder why there are less than a handful that provide for the elderly. I’ve asked a number of my contemporaries and business associates why they think this is. Across the board I hear that most people surmise that, “people choose to support the ‘future’ — thus our youth.” Maybe those who have the means to donate feel the young solicit sympathy, compassion and hope.

I get it. I have two young children, and I do my best to set them up for a successful future. My wife and I value education, the arts and sports, and we feel a great sense of responsibility in ensuring we raise confident, healthy, compassionate and well-balanced children who have purpose and an awareness of others.

Within Pitkin County we have an exorbitant number of charitable organizations with great missions. However, think for a moment about any that are focused solely on our elderly. Why is it fulfilling and emotionally rewarding to assist those starting their life journey and very different for those nearing the end of life’s journey? Does the end not deserve respect, gratitude and even dignity?

Outside of Pitkin County Senior Services, which offers meals, fitness classes and transportation, only Valley Meals & More is designed exclusively for the benefit of the elderly. Valley Meals & More services a 60-older population throughout our communities. They provide delivered healthy meals, medical related transportation, respite and home visits where socialization and an awareness of needs are fostered and addressed. (If you felt inclined, these organizations would be grateful for any financial support. They also offer many volunteer opportunities.)

Unfortunately, within our valley, the charitable organizations that focus on assisting our communities’ elders are lacking. Have you ever thought about how many veterans, retired educators, nurses and service professionals reside in our county? Is it concerning that many are forced to make choices that jeopardize their health and lives? Unfortunately, too many cannot find basic services and medical specialists. Sadly, such lack of services and attention cause too many to move away in order to meet their aging needs.

How do we as a community support and assist these individuals? Do we care that they devoted their lives to serving others and made our county a great place? Do we have the inclination to help and give back to our community elders that need a little help?

Next time, when looking to donate your time, resources or dollars, think outside the “box” and think of a way to be of service to this segment of our population. If you are willing to help and have time or money, touch base with me. I know established organizations that would appreciate your help.

President John F. Kennedy and the National Council of Senior Citizens designated May as “Senior Citizens Month,” which gave way to the current “Older Americans Month.” As such, would you consider doing anything to help an elderly community member in way that fits your interests and skills? A meal, errand, house repair and/or a visit to say “Hi” could be appreciated more than you know.

In many ways, our aging community is the fabric of our society. Will our community leaders see this as a worthy cause and forge the way? Think about it.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.